Comparison of Beauties in the Theatrical Mirror: Okoma Arranging Her Lover Saizaburô’s HairArtist(s)Hosoda EisuiObject Creation Datecirca 1799-1800Medium & Supportlarge full-color woodblock print (nishiki e) on paper, large-size (ôban)Dimensions
22 in. x 18 in. ( 55.9 cm x 45.7 cm )Credit LineMuseum PurchaseLabel copy
In 1798–99, Kitagawa Utamaro did a magnificent series of prints of famous historical and fictional lovers, entitled "True Feelings Compared: The Founts of True Love" (Jitsu kurabe iro no minakami ). Close on the heels of that success, Ichirakutei Eisui issued his own series, which closely mimics Utamaro’s "big head" close-up format, and with the same cast of characters. The pair shown here, Shirokiya Okoma and Obana Saizaburô, were star-crossed lovers whose tale first appeared on the kabuki stage in 1775.
After they had been forcefully separated, the once-prosperous Saizaburô was reduced to being a hairdresser.
This print represents the rare occasion where the spin-off surpasses the original. In Utamaro’s version, Okoma crouches before Saizaburô, pleading with him to "speak no more of their love." In Eisui’s reworking of the theme, she stands over him, clearly the more resolved and resourceful of the two. She uses her own hairpin to adjust his coiffure, in a gesture that is both delicate and intimate.
"Courtesans, Cross-Dressers, and the Girl Next Door Images of the Feminine in Japanese Popular Prints"
3/9 - 9/1/02Primary Object Classification Print Primary Object Typecolor printCollection AreaAsianRights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image
for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.