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View of Imperial Visit of Mikado Ingyō to Princess Sotoshi


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

View of Imperial Visit of Mikado Ingyō to  Princess Sotoshi

by Kobayashi Eitaku , 1901

IHL Cat. #555

About This Print

Source: A Waka Anthology: The Gem-Glistening Cup, Edwin A. Cranston, 1993, Stanford University Press, p. 85.
This print depicts a night-time visit by the fifth-century Emperor Ingyō (c. 411-453) to his lover Princess Sotoshi no iratsume  (aka Sotori), the younger sister of Empress Oshisaka no Ōnakatsuhime.  In order not to offend the Empress, the Emperor provided a residence for Princess Sotoshi far away from the Empress, first in Fujiwara near Asuka and then in Chinu in Kawachi on the Inland Sea, and made secret visits to her. (Of course the Empress knew about the visits.)

click on image for detail
showing details of silver highlights on Princess Sotoshi's robe

In the eighth year, spring, the second month, he (the Emperor) went to Fujiwara and secretly observed the demeanor of Lady Sotori. That evening Lady Sotori was alone, yearning for the Emperor. Unaware that the Emperor had come, she composed a song, saying:

Tonight is the night
My young love will come to me:
Little bamboo crab
Spider’s antics make it clear.
Oh, very clear tonight!

This poem made Princess Sotori famous, and she later became a deity of poetry.

Attribution of this Design to the Artist Kobayashi Eitaku

The signature on this print bears the name Eitaku 永濯. (The full signature reads "ōju Eitaku" 応需 永濯, ōju meaning "by demand.")  The Hagi Uragami Museum also attributes this print to Kobayashi Eitaku 小林永濯.  The publisher's seal carries the date 10th month, Meiji 34 or October 1901.  However, the artist Kobayashi Eitaku died in 1890.  This print could have been made from an old design by Eitaku or, perhaps, by one of his students.  I've not been able to confirm the reading of the seal below the signature.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description  View of Imperial Visit of Mikado Ingyō to Princess Sotoshi
 Artist  after Kobayashi Eitaku (1843-1890)
 Signature  ōju Eitaku 
 Seal  unread seal below signature
 Publication Date  October 24, 1901(Meiji 34)
 Publisher  Kimura Toyokichi 発行者木村豊吉 [Marks pub ref. 239; seal not shown]
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition good - margins trimmed; separate panels each backed
 Genre  ukiyo-e
 Format  vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper
 13 7/8 x 9 1/2 in. (35.2 x 24.1 cm) each sheet

 Collections This Print
 Hagi Uragami Museum U04695