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Hinazuru of the Chōjiya (丁子屋雛鶴) from the series Beauties of the Yoshiwara as Six Floral Immortals (Seirō bijin Rokkasen - 青楼美人六花仙)

Identifier: 1795c Eishi 01

Flowers representing courtesans in this series are contained in the koma-e or inset picture next to the title cartouche. While we can't prove our hypothesis that these figures of beautiful women parallel the classical representations of the Six Immortal Poets (Rokkasen - 六歌仙) we are still looking into this and expect that in time the evidence will become clear.


Over the history of this house at least 6 or more women were honored to carry this name. "...Shunshō (?1726-92) was commissioned to paint a special portrait of the grand courtesan Hinazuru by a man who had been her loyal patron over many years: Shunshō was to paint her in her most sumptuous costume of a black surcoat embroidered with peacock feathers and turquoise brocade obi (sash) and then add the jewelled crown and necklaces, and the lotus flower pedestals of the Bodhisattva Kannon on her passage to rebirth in the Pure Land Paradise.... [Later] the old roué would gaze at the painting with nostalgic longing and compose poems to it, one of which reads: 'Even on an old man's body/that looks like a withered tree/this female Bodhisattva/makes flowers bloom.' " Quoted from: Ukiyo-e Paintings in the British Museum by Timothy Clark, p. 8.

The Hinazuru in this Eishi print must have excited the juices of many a great artist and publisher. She was portrayed by Eishō, Chōki, Eisui, Eiri and Utamaro. Earlier examples who used this name were presented by Harunobu, Kiyonaga, Koryūsai and Masanobu.


The mon of the Chōjiya was a crane, but none appears here in this print. A peony (?) appears in the title cartouche and morning glories () decorate the courtesan's fan. There are several Buddhist references, too. Her robe is decorated with the endless knot and there are at least two of the sacred jewels seen on what appears to be her untied, unfurled obi.

Hinazuru, an educated woman, has been reading as is indicated by the book-stand situated near her. It is only partially covered with a protective cloth. A stack of other books lie near the stand, waiting to be read.

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