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Katsura Eiju 桂永 Menuki (c. 1770)

Certification: NBTHK Hozon

Unsigned menuki with NBTHK attribution to Katsura Eiju.

Katsura Eiju, founder of the very well regarded Katsura School, was a student of the second Yokoya Sōyo and also Yokoya Terukiyo. He worked in Kurume, Chickugo, and served the Arima Daimyō of that province. He was proficient in the style of Yokoya Sōmin, and his skill is said to come very close to that of Sōmin himself. Eiju used the names: Sajūrō 左十郎, Shikō 紫江, Shōyōken 逍遙軒, Shōyōshi 逍遙子, and Unsai 雲斎 in his signatures. His adopted son, Egawa Toshimasa (also read Sorin), became master of the famous Egawa School.

This set of menuki is done in a base metal of shakudō with gold highlights. The surface of the fish seems to have a very thin gold wash, as though gold dust was blown over them, giving them an unusual color and appearance. This subject was a favorite of Katsura Eiju, with many extant examples.

Photo by Jack Edick (c) 2010Photo by Jack Edick (c) 2010
Photo by Jack Edick (c) 2010Photo by Jack Edick (c) 2010