|24. Hosoda Eishi (Chôbunsai ) (1756-1829), Kikugawa Eizan (1787-1867), Ôta Nampo (Shokusanjin) (1749-1823), Ishikawa Masamochi (Rokujuen)(1754–1830)
Diptych - Mimizuku, horned owl and OtafukuSigned: Chôbunsai Eishi ga, Rokujuen & Kikugawa Eizan hitsu, Shokusanjin
Seals: Eishi, Toshinobu
Technique: colours on paper 99.7 x 29 (2x)
Mounting: light azure brocade
bone rollers, 175 x 35.5
Condition: aged and toned, otherwise good
衆鳥来てこれを笑ふ /その智に[ハ]及ぶべし / 木兎ゐながらこれをひく/ その愚には / 及ぶべからず
Shôchô kite, kore o warau, sono chi ni wa oyobubeshi.
Tsuku inagara, kore o hiku, sono gu ni wa, oyobubekarazu.
Little birds come to laugh at him: they have to be as daring as he is clever.
To take hold of an owl cannot be more stupid (it is of an unfathomable stupidity, it is a stupidity one can not reach [with his head]).
小鳥どもわらはばわらへ大かたの / うき世の事は / きかぬみみづく
Kotoridomo, warawaba warae, ôkata no, ukiyo no koto wa, kikanu mimizuku.
Little birds, you laugh as much as you want:
To all the matters of the (sad) floating world
He does not pay attention,
This kyoka is published in Hanjinshū (# 441), a collection of kyōka by Nanpo
Not all of the inscription by Rokujuen can be read. It is also proverb, though used in reverse: “Okame is not the prettiest but she has a good nature. Her exterior looks like a yaksha, a pig face, but has the heart of a bodhisattva.”
The Hosoda family in which Eishi was born had high positions as retainers of the Shôgun. They claimed to be offspring of the important Fujiwara clan.
At the age of 15 after his father’s dead he became head of the family. Due to his classical education and his interest in painting he became a student with the court painter Kanô Eisen-in Michinobu (1730-1790). In 1781 Eishi was appointed Konanduyaku, chamberlain in charge of the shôguns collection of paintings, but already resigned after 2 years and to become Yoriai, special attendant to shôgun after another year. In 1789 he resigned handed over the position as head of the Hosoda clan over to his adopted son Tokitoyo (1772-1828). From then on he successfully produced prints. In 1800, after the empress had gracefully received one of his paintings he decided to concentrate on paintings only.
He became one of the finest Ukiyo-e painters.
Kikukawa Eizan was a designer of ukiyo-e style Japanese woodblock prints. He first studied with his father, Eiji, a minor painter of the Kanō school. He then studied with Suzuki Nanrei (1775–1844), an artist of the Shijō school. He is believed to have also studied with the ukiyo-e artist Totoya Hokkei (1790–1850). He produced numerous woodblock prints of beautiful women in the 1830s, but then abandoned printmaking in favor of painting.
Apart from being known as a great drinker, Nampo was an extremely important figure in the social and cultural world of Edo around 1800. He worked for the bakufu, government, but tried to become a true bunjin all his life. He was a kyôka poet, but at age 18, after the successful publication of a parodic kyôka anthology he became ‘the cultural hero’ in Edo's Ukiyo-e and literati scene.
Masamochi, Rokujuen was a Japanese kokugaku scholar, kyōka poet and writer of yomihon of the late Edo period and leader of an important Edo kyôka poetry group.
References to these artists can be found in the numerous books on Ukiyo-e.