Eishōsai Chōki
| Tayū Yaemurasaki from Azuma Ōgiya and the Servant Moto from Yoshidaya
c. 1794

ōkubi-e, ōban, 32.0 x 21.7 cm; nishiki-e with white mica ground (shirokira)

From a series of bijin with servants It is strange that Chōki seems to have been the only important artist of the 1790s to design portraits of courtesans from the Shinmachi quarter in Ōsaka. This rare series shows bijin and nakai, i.e. women who served as brokers between courtesans and clients. This, the only print of this motif, is a facsimile from the Meiji period. If it should prove that the original used to produce this facsimile has been lost, then this would be the only surviving print.

Sentarō Kondō, Kyōto (November 1968)
Riese Collection #82

It seems curious that Chōki should have been the only major artist of the 1790s to design portraits of courtesans in the Shinmachi district of Ōsaka, and doubly curious that he designed so many, including some of his finest prints. There are at least fine other subjects in this untitled series, for example, showing courtesans together with nakai, the women who served as go-between between courtesan and client. Prints from this series are rare. The only other impression of this print is known only from an early 20th century facsimile reproduction, which, fortunately, gives the full inscription at the top. If the original for that facsimile has been lost, this may be the only impression of the print which has survived.