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26 September 2016 

The Notorious Swindler Kiyohito Pleasing Thirteen Hookers

The Japanese title for the series the following design comes from is ‘Ensetsu tsukushi goto‘ (loosely translated ‘Horny preaching…eating up women’). The artist is Keisai Eisen (aka. Ikeda Eisen/ Inransai Hakusui).

The notorious and insatiable cheater Kiyohito with 13 courtesans

‘The notorious and insatiable cheater Kiyohito with 13 courtesans’ from the series ‘Ensetsu tsukushi goto (c.1821)‘ Designed by Keisai Eisen (1790-1848)

God of Lightning

The story tells about the adventures of the flagrant swindler and womanizer Kiyohito who is punished by the gods. He is slain by Raijin, the ‘God of lightning’ when he is making love to a woman. This woman is a widow and has been forbidden to have sex with other men. Kiyohito made her break her vow of abstinence and makes love to her.

The notorious and insatiable cheater Kiyohito with 13 courtesans

Below a loosely translated version of the Japanese text featured on the right panels:

“No no, that’s not all. The terrible Kiyohito has multiple affairs with various women. He is making love to thirteen women at once. Look there, so many! All are gorgeous, though.”

Keisai Eisen

Keisai Eisen was a very talented and important artist, but unfortunately not a very successful one. He studied painting at the Kano school. Later he was accepted at the studio of Kikugawa Eiji, the father of Kikugawa Eizan (1787-1867), with whom he became close friends. It was during this stage that he became interested in ukiyo-e, Chinese painting  and the works of Hokusai, whom he greatly admired.

The notorious and insatiable cheater Kiyohito with 13 courtesans

Eisen is often hold in high regard for the introduction of a certain conciousness into the expression of the people he portrayed. It is as if they are giving the spectator a nudge in the ribs. Eisen’s self-conciousness was a new introduction to the shunga, a symbolic reflection of social attitudes but it added nothing healthy to either.

Click on the image for an enlargement of this Eisen design!

Click on the following link if you are interested in checking out a comprehensive introduction to shunga art !

Source: ‘Shunga, the Art of Love in Japan‘ by Tom and Mary Evans.

Do you also love the colorful artwork of Keisai Eisen? His frivolity? Let me know your thoughts!

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