Keisai Eisen 渓斎英泉 (1790–1848)
Erotic Book: A Comparison of Beautiful Women
(Enpon mime kurabe), vol. 1 of 3
Japan, Edo period (1615–1868), c. 1822
Woodblock-printed book; ink and color on paper
Purchase, Richard Lane Collection, 2003
On the left page, Keisai Eisen (1790–1848) depicts a Chinese woman wearing a headband (bian fang) interwoven with flowers. The headdress appears to be loosely based upon Manchu women’s fashion during the Qing dynasty (1644–1912), but the golden, pheasant-shaped bian fang that she wears ultimately seems more reminiscent of Japanese depictions of mythological characters such as the Daoist goddess Xiwangmu (Japanese: Seiōbō), Queen Mother of the West.
Above this portrait, Eisen mentions that a physiognomic study of the woman’s face reveals the “high quality” of her vagina.
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