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Woman at her toilet, by Keisai Eisen

Image attached to P.246-1937

An image of Surimono. Woman at her toilet. Eisen, Keisai (Japanese, 1790-1848). Colour print from woodblocks with metallic pigments and blind embossing (karazuri). Poet: Ryuotei Hananari. Circa 1824-circa 1826. Ukiyo-e.
Notes: A woman washing her hair is one of the most popular means for suggesting elegant eroticism. Here, however, the poet does not hesitate to reveal the painful fact of age. The poem reads: ‘Washing off all the cosmetics and putting a crescent-shaped comb in her long, flowing hair, this woman has found the comb looks hazy in the white threads [i.e. hairs], just as the moon would look in an evening haze.’ She appears to be contemplating the moon reflected in the water in her wash basin. The harbour with Mt. Fuji in the background, seen through her window, indicates that the setting is along the seaside at Shinagawa, the first station on the Tokaido Highway, where this woman is one of the many tavern maids serving as prostitutes. The landscape is depicted in the manner of Western art, particularly in the representation of the clouds around the moon.

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About this image

Surimono. Woman at her toilet. Eisen, Keisai (Japanese, 1790-1848). Colour print from woodblocks with metallic pigments and blind embossing (karazuri). Poet: Ryuotei Hananari. Circa 1824-circa 1826. Ukiyo-e. Notes: A woman washing her hair is one of the most popular means for suggesting elegant eroticism. Here, however, the poet does not hesitate to reveal the painful fact of age. The poem reads: ‘Washing off all the cosmetics and putting a crescent-shaped comb in her long, flowing hair, this woman has found the comb looks hazy in the white threads [i.e. hairs], just as the moon would look in an evening haze.’ She appears to be contemplating the moon reflected in the water in her wash basin. The harbour with Mt. Fuji in the background, seen through her window, indicates that the setting is along the seaside at Shinagawa, the first station on the Tokaido Highway, where this woman is one of the many tavern maids serving as prostitutes. The landscape is depicted in the manner of Western art, particularly in the representation of the clouds around the moon.

Image data

  • Accession Number: P.246-1937
  • Photograph copyright © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
  • Aperture: f/22.0
  • Focal length: 80
  • Camera: Hasselblad H4D-31
  • Photographer name: Sam Cole
  • Image height: 1025 pixels
  • Image width: 913 pixels
  • Processed with: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.4 (Windows)
  • Filesize: 0.99MB
  • Exposure time: 1/125
  • ISO Speed: 100
  • Fnumber: 22/1
  • Captured: 2017:06:26 15:53:04

Key words

19th Century ablutions basin blind embossing colour printing combing combing hair combs costume Eisen embossed fashion fashionable female Fitz_PDP full moon hair hairstyle harbour Japanese karazuri Keisai Eisen kimono long hair long haired maids metal metallic moon moonlight moonlit Mount Fuji pigment print Shinagawa surimono toilet toilette ukiyo-e wash basin washing washing hair window woman women woodblock woodcut

Colours in this image

rgb(215,201,180), rgb(57,52,46), rgb(134,129,116), rgb(115,95,77), rgb(136,114,87), rgb(187,155,125), rgb(168,135,110), rgb(165,161,151), rgb(187,163,143), rgb(248,233,212), rgb(100,124,116)

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Woman at her toilet, by Keisai Eisen" Web page available at: https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/image/media-208794 Accessed: 2024-03-03 06:36:22

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{{cite web|url=https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/image/media-208794 |title=Woman at her toilet, by Keisai Eisen |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-03-03 06:36:22|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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        <img src="https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/imagestore/pdp/pdp78/P_246_1937_1_201706_sjc288_dc2.jpg"
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        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Woman at her toilet, by Keisai Eisen</figcaption>
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