Japanese Modernism Across Media

Eyebrow Pencil


Eyebrow Pencil


The unusual choice of a horizontal format, together with a triangular composition, allowed Shinsui a wider surface upon which to emphasize the white skin of his subject, a geisha or actress kneeling in front of a mirror while applying her makeup.  This print is also an excellent example of the evolution of Shinsui and Watanabe’s thinking with regard to color. As they worked toward the final version of the print, the ground evolved from a flesh tone to pastel pink and finally to bright red.  With each iteration, adjustments to the colors of the woman’s robes became necessary.[1]

[1] Kendall H. Brown, Nozomi Naoi, and Allen Hockley, The Women of Shin Hanga: The Judith and Joseph Barker Collection of Japanese Prints, ed. Allen Hockley (Hanover, NH: Hood Museum of Art, 2013), 180.


Itō Shinsui


Hamanaka Shinji and Amy Reigle Newland, The Female Image: 20th Century Prints of Japanese Beauties (Leiden: Hotei, 2003), 61.



Original Format

Woodblock print

Physical Dimensions

27.0 x 38.0 cm




Itō Shinsui, “Eyebrow Pencil,” Japanese Modernism Across Media, accessed May 30, 2024, https://ds-omeka.haverford.edu/japanesemodernism/items/show/456.

Output Formats