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Extremely Rare Shunga Masterpiece - Hokusai - c.1810

The Adonis Plant ( Fukujuso ).

Hokusai Katsushika  (1760 -1849)


Original 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" inches. 
This design is plate 12 from Hokusai's series 'The Adonis Plant' (Fukujuso). 
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 !


References: Pl. 55 (p.159) 'Japanese Erotic Fantasies' by C. Uhlenbeck and M. Winkel.
Evans (1975), pl.6.88; Kobayashi and Asano (Eds.) (1995), vol.1, 90.
Lane/Hayashi (p.36/37) in Vol.23 (1998).

"The 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 is reproduced 
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 Ukiyo-e Shunga'.

This specific print has been part of the exhibition in the Kunsthal in Rotterdam. (see Pl.55 in 'Japanese Erotic Fantasies' )

Another design from this series.