A chinese princess gazing into a mirror

Totoya Hokkey
1780 - 1850
A chinese princess gazing into a mirror
1820 c.
Woodblock print, nishiki-e
Shikishiban surimono, 205 x 180 mm

Signed: Hokkei

Provenance: on the verso unidentified collector’s mark (red circle with letters).

The surimono depicts a Chinese princess holding a fan and with her face reflected in a mirror.
Poem by Shūyōtei Hyakka.

Very fine impression, printed on thicker paper (hōsogami) with special printing effects: blind printing (karazuri) and a liberal use of metallic tints in gold, silver and bronze. Fine colour and condition.
Other fine impressions are at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (accession number 53.2726) and at the Met Museum in New York (accession number: JP1240).

Roger Keyes: Surimono, Privately Published Japanese Prints in the Spencer Museum of Art, 1984, page 159, plate 69.

Hokkei began his work as a fishmonger but quickly became one of Hokusai's best students, specializing in surimono and illustrated books. His name "Totoya" literally "fishmonger" indicates a plebeian origin, but he soon entered the workshop of the painter Yōsen'in of the Kanō school (1753-1808). From 1799 he actively worked alongside his master Hokusai and from 1810 c. he became a surimono draftsman revealing an acute sense of humor and employing very refined techniques. He actively worked on the composition of the first 'manga' volumes of the master and towards the late 1820s, after Shunman's death and after Hokusai ceased to accept surimono commissions from poetic circles, Hokkei with Gakutei became the most important and sought-after surimono designers. Hokkei cultivated a cultured and refined clientele composed of samurai, intellectuals and scholars.

Other works of the master