Kikugawa Eizan, "Shoki, the Demon Queller"
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The deity Shoki is a common subject found throughout Japanese woodblock prints from the Edo-period. Tradition holds that Shoki wards off evil spirits and bad luck, thus it was common to find woodblock prints, paintings, and sculptures of Shoki adorning entrances at homes. This hashira-e (pillar print) by Kikugawa Eizan is a wonderful depiction of the deity stroking his long beard and holding his sword.
Hashira-e formatted woodblock prints were popular in the early Edo-period. Hung as scrolls or even pasted on pillars found in Japanese homes, woodblock prints in this format are scare today. The print is lightly backed with remnants of the old scroll mounting on borders. There is a light crease and the prints are joined at the center, but otherwise the impression and color are excellent for a print of this vintage. The framed presentation in the example shown is meant to mimic display as scroll.
Title: Shoki, the Demon Queller
Date: c. 1815
Format: Hashira-e (pillar print; approx. 4” x 24”)
Condition: Light backing, scroll remnants on border, light center crease, otherwise excellent color and condition
Shown with Classic Wood, Walnut Frame (8.5” x 40”)
Kikukawa Eizan (1787-1867) was greatly influenced by the master printmaker Utamaro, and many of Eizan’s designs reflect this inspiration. Eizan is believed to have stopped making woodblock prints in the late 1820’s, but not before cementing his legacy today as one of the great ukiyo-e period artists.