THE PERIOD OF UTAMARO
illustrates a print by him in which he makes use of the dull tints of Toyokuni, which remained in fashion to the first decade of the nineteenth century. Towards the end of the century he, too, was unable to withstand the mannerism which had crept in, in consequence of altered tastes, and which about 1800 reached its extreme point in the elongation of the figures and the mask-like, expressionless character of the faces. At the same time, notwithstanding his arbitrary rendering of form, Yeishi always retained an uncommon mastery of drawing.
He is particularly distinguished for his triptychs, restricted mostly to a few sober colours, as the following:—
- The interior of a house in the Yoshiwara (about 1792 according to Fenollosa, No. 294, who designates it as one of his most beautiful works).
- The visit of a lady to a young man.
- A young man surrounded by women near a garden well.
- Young women on a verandah on the sea-shore.
- Four young women on a verandah, overlooking a river full of boats.
- Fishing party in a boat.
- Women playing on musical instruments beneath an umbrella in a pleasure-boat built in the form of a peacock.
- A pathway leading past rice-fields (according to Fenollosa, No. 288, about 1788).
- A lady resting near her carriage under blossoming trees.
- Pentaptych: a youth of rank playing the flute, accompanied by three female musicians.
Among the single sheets there are series of courtesans in outdoor costume; in one of these series, saké-cups are used as a distinguishing mark; in another, rabbits. A series distinguished by flowers depicts young women as representatives of art.
In the book Onna sanjiurokkasen, of 1798, for which Hokusai drew the title-page, Yeishi depicted thirty-six young poetesses of Yedo.
His principal pupil was Yeisho, who was active until the end