“A Courtesan is having intercourse with her secret lover”
Look for the magnificent printing details such as the use of burnishing, ‘bokashi’-shading and the highly detailed carving of the individual hair-lines.
Ukiyo-e expert dr. Richard Lane comments the following on the original Eiri design in Models of Calligraphy:
“Purely as a work of bijin-ga [figure design] this scene of courtesan and secret lover ranks high not only in Eiri’s oeuvre, but also in the annals of the ukiyo-e genre itself. Both design and coloring are impeccable and, for this period, there is nothing even in the work of the great Utamaro that really surpasses it. One feels, indeed, a little humbled – not to mention honored – to reflect that, prior to our publication here, few indeed must be the readers who will ever have heard of the artist Eiri, not to mention his most fascinating album.
Regarding the relation of this striking print to Utamaro – showing a kept woman and her secret lover – I suspect that problems of taste will loom large in any evaluation. I personally find the Utamakura plate rather cloyingly heavy in tone and not, indeed, very erotic. Eiri – while adopting the same composition – creates a colorful world of real pleasure that one would be only too delighted to enter. Enough said”.
Antique Japanese color woodblock.