Japanese color woodblock Hokusai (1760-1849). Shunga (Erotic
print), Date: c.1810s.
Fine impression, very good color (with metallic pigments)
and condition. Oban yoko-e size: 14 1/5" x 10"
This design is plate 12 from Hokusai's series 'The Adonis
Besides the usual centerfold, minor trimming and some very
minor marks and flaws in a very nice condition !
The man's body has been printed in flesh tones using a
metallic pigment that has since oxidized, creating a
darkened area (on the man's genitalia!) imbuing the figure
with texture !
55 (p.159) 'Japanese Erotic Fantasies' by C.
Uhlenbeck and M. Winkel.
(1975), pl.6.88; Kobayashi and Asano (Eds.) (1995),
(p.36/37) in Vol.23 (1998).
Adonis Plant is undisputedly Hokusai's most celebrated
erotic oban album, but its publication history is complex.
The example reproduced here is a first edition, however,
there is also a later deluxe edition entitled Flowers Above
the Waves (Nami chidori). In Plowers Above the Waves the
text was removed, mica was added to the background and hand
-colouring complemented the woodblock-printed contour lines.
Both editions are characterized by the enormous scale of the
figures, their exceptionally bold placement on the page and
the contrast between the rounded nude forms and the terse
crinkled lines of the garments. The text in the first
edition generally comprises 'dirty talk'. In the image
illustrated here the woman complains about her lover doing
dirty deeds. The man replies: 'How can you say
"dirty"? I was born from here'. The deluxe edition
in its entirety in Kobayashi and Asano (Eds.)
(1995: Vol.2, 96)." ('Japanese Erotic Fantasies' by C.
Uhlenbeck/ M. Winkel).
This design is generally considered Hokusai's best shunga
design in the oban format and has not been traced on the art
market for the last 30 years !
The first edition of this series is reproduced in its
entirety in Vol.23 of R.Lane and Y.Hayashi's 'The Complete
This specific print has been part of the exhibition in the
Kunsthal in Rotterdam. (see Pl.55 in 'Japanese Erotic
design from this series.