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Archive: Sadahiro (貞廣)

Bijin with fan
No artist signature (see artist seals); Poet: Shihôkanjin
Artist seals: Sadahiro and Seisai
N/A (painting)
Circa 1820s-1840s
(H x W)
131 x 32 (painting on paper)
174 x 40 (hand-painted mounting)
N/A (painting)
Very good color, good condition (newly remounted with original inscribed paper and rollers; minor creases, now flattened, here and there; tiny spot of flecked-off paint near hem of yukata)
Price (USD/¥):

Inquiry: (SDH05)


Sadahiro sealsBijinga (pictures of beautiful women: 美人画) depicted in domestic or private settings were perennially popular subjects for Edo-based ukiyo-e artists. Osaka print artists, however, were almost exclusively associated with yakusha-e (actor prints: 役者絵), although some did, on a few occasions, produce bijinga. The usual spectacle of stage characters with their accurate nigao (physiognomies or likenesses: 似顔) would give way, as in the Sadahiro painting shown here, to more idealized visages. The bijin's face is stylized and not an actual portrait, which would have been consistent with the expectations of collectors and connoisseurs of the bijin-ga genre.


Sadahiro depicts a young beauty dressed in a yukata (浴衣), an informal, lightweight kimono used for the bath or summer wear. She holds an uchiwa a (non-folding fan: 團扇 or 団扇) while also adusting her kanzashi (hairpin: 簪).

In the inscription above the bijin, the poet Shihôkanjin writes that he admires the bijin for her make-up and her yukata, and says that he can feel the breeze from her fan

The first hankô (seal: 判子) reads Sadahiro (貞廣); however, the second hankô, reading Seisai, is not known to be associated with any artist using the (artist name: 號) Sadahiro, so its appearance here is a puzzle (see lower seal at far right). Nevertheless, the drawing style and skill in execution strongly suggests to us that this work was painted by Sadahiro I.