Hasegawa Katsuchika (Shōshin)
mid-17th century

Artist’s seals: Hasegawa and Katsuchika (Shōshin?) Poet’s (Calligrapher’s) signature: Hen-un rōjin sho kakemono, 98.5 x 24.5 cm (picture size); nikuhitsu-ga

The ukiyo painting called nikuhitsu-ga ("handpainted pictures"), predates ukiyo-e woodblock prints and is artistically more prestigious. The masters of woodblock prints were also capable painters. The upper part of the kakemono features a short calligraphic poem, in a classical Chinese form, praising the charms of the beauty depicted and signed "Hen-un rōjin".

Geyger, inv.no.16418 (KG p.10 / KGE p.10)

A beautiful woman is depicted standing alone against a very narrow, empty background. Her hair is drawn up into a high bun, with a few short wisps of hair falling around her temples. Shielding her mouth with her left hand in a gesture of shyness, she holds the bow of her obi with her right hand. She is wearing several robes over each other, the outermost probably made of foreign brocade and decorated all over with large peonies. In the upper part of the hanging scroll there is a Chinese short poem of seven syllables in four lines:

Perfume emanates from the kingfisher-blue sleeves of supple silk.
Her waist so slim and skin so tender – how fresh she looks!
With her rosy cheeks and green-glowing eyebrows she is so charming
That she would break the heart even of a man of iron.
Written by Hen’un Rōjin.

The lower of the three red seals can be identified as Shōshin (Katsushika) and refers to a painter called Hasegawa, Shōshin about whom nothing more is known. He probably belonged to the painter family Hasegawa. The pure Chinese poem without supplementary syllabic characters conforms to the rules of the Chinese art of poetry.