Keisai Eisen (1790-1848) ‘The Courtesan Nanahito Making Tea, 1815-42’ by Francesco Nevola
by Venetia Kapernekas
Keisai Eisen (1790-1848) ‘The Courtesan Nanahito Making Tea, 1815-42’, O-ban woodblock print; written by Francesco Nevola (sketch 05/written 31.12.2016)
A beautiful afternoon sipping a lovely green tea in a porcelain tea cup, sharing with my readers the lovely ‘sketch 05’ sent from my contributor writer, Francesco Nevola.
photo (the Japanese gallery,London)
In this early nineteenth century print one of the most ancient of Japanese rituals is being performed: the making of tea. In contrast to the tranquillity of the ritual, its representation here is shown with singular dynamic force. The image captures the full extent of Ukyo-e elegance. The culture of the ‘floating-world’ pervaded Japanese capital, Edo, into the final years of the nineteenth century, as the nation opened up to the west. While the rich robes warn by Nanahito and the fine accoutrements she handles with such poise, all speak of time honoured traditions, this work’s composition, with its bold geometries and its stark white ground anticipate the aesthetic of western modernism, while its striking colouristic juxtapositions recall the bright brash signs of pop-art a century later. For all its apparent celebration of traditional Japanese aesthetic values, the bold structure of Keisai Eisen’s composition signals the future.
Text © Francesco Nevola
Francesco Nevola, a fabulous scholar of Piranesi
Nevola’s sketch 09 “The Temple of Aphea II”
see older post on life and work of Francesco Nevola https://venetiakapernekasblog.com/2015/06/11/italyteverina-mountains-cortona-deanna-maganias-and-franciso-nevola-house-and-studio/