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Utagawa Hiroshige  ( 1797-1858 )  –  Utagawa Kuniyoshi  ( 1797-1861 )

p2590 ~ p2607.

‘Kuniyoshi no Shunga (Bessatsy Taiyou)’ by Yoshihiko Shirakura and Shugo Asano.

‘Kuniyoshi no Shunga (Bessatsy Taiyou)’ by Yoshihiko Shirakura and Shugo Asano.
< Book is published by Heybonsha, 2012.

 

 

 

 

Striking about the designs of the ‘Edo Brocades,The Eastern Library’-series is that they all feature intimate married couples. Courtesans or secret mistresses are missing in these scenes. The focus is primarily on the intimacy between husbands and spouses. Over the years there has been much debate about the attribution of this series, here you can find two examples:

“These shunga belong to the book Edo nishiki, Azuma Bunko (Brocades of Edo, Library of Azuma; a three-volume hanshi-bon from about 1850), a work traditionally attributed to Kuniyoshi and only recently attributed to the catalogue of Hiroshige, of which this represents without a doubt the masterpiece of the genre of the erotic prints, thus rarely practiced by the artist”. (Shunga, the Erotic Art of Japan by Marco Fagioli)

“Much discussion has been generated regarding the artist of this book, which was previously attributed to Utagawa Hiroshige (see Hillier 1987: vol.2,907-8). The earlier attribution to Hiroshige was based on the inclusion of his artist’s name ‘Ichiryusai’ on the title page of volume one. However, Tsuji Nobuo argues (1995:2) that the name ‘Hodoyoshi’ listed in the preface of his book is in fact the pseudonym used by Kuniyoshi in his erotic books (see cat. no.81). Tsuji also believes that this was probably a work from around 1838, when Kuniyoshi was at the peak of his career”. (Japanese Erotic Fantasies by Chris Uhlenbeck)
> Click here for more articles on Japanese woodblock prints, shunga...etc.

 

 

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Shunga Masterwork – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Close-up Couple – c.1838.

Shunga Masterwork – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Close-up Couple – c.1838.
> Click on the Picture.

Description:

Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) or Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). 
Shunga
(Erotic picture). Date: c.1838. Size: ca. 11 3/4” x 9 1/5” inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition.
Series: ‘Edo nishiki-e azuma bunko (Edo Brocades, The Eastern Library)’. Minor marks and flaws but overall in a wonderful state! Highly detailed carving with superb use of metallic pigments and gauffrage.

“A husband passionately kisses (kissing in public was and still is quite taboo in Japan) while she attempts to dress her hair. She is wearing a wonderfully patterned blue robe that is identical to the one worn by the male in P2591.”

Reference: p.203 (Fig.78d) in Japanese Erotic Fantasies by C. Uhlenbeck and M. Winkel...etc.

 

 

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Shunga Masterwork – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Courtesan And Labourer – c.1838.

Shunga Masterwork – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Courtesan And Labourer – c.1838.
  > Click on the Picture.

Description:

Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) or Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). 
Shunga
(Erotic picture). Date: c.1838. Size: ca. 11 3/4” x 9 1/5” inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition.
Series: ‘Edo nishiki-e azuma bunko (Edo Brocades, The Eastern Library)’. Minor marks and flaws but overall in a wonderful state! Highly detailed carving with superb use of metallic pigments and gauffrage.

“An encounter between a lower-class courtesan and a labourer. Like the above piece (P2590!) the image varies in focus and scale from the other prints in the album. A close-up view, and thus the conveyance of enjoyment is much more palpable to the viewer.”

References: p.202 (Fig.78b) in Japanese Erotic Fantasies by C. Uhlenbeck and M. Winkel...etc.
p.160/161 (Fig. 174) in Shunga, the Erotic Art of Japan by M. Fagioli.

 

 

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Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Sensual Couple – c.1838.

Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Sensual Couple – c.1838.
> Click on the Picture.

Description:

Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) or Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). 
Shunga
(Erotic picture). Date: c.1838. Size: ca. 11 3/4” x 9 1/5” inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition.
Series: ‘Edo nishiki-e azuma bunko (Edo Brocades, The Eastern Library)’. Minor marks and flaws but overall in a wonderful state! Highly detailed carving with superb use of metallic pigments and gauffrage.

“An ecstatic woman (her eyes closed) is making love to her husband while leaning on her hand seeking for balance.”

 

 

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Shunga Masterpiece – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Wet Fingers – c.1838.

Shunga Masterpiece – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Wet Fingers – c.1838.
> Click on the Picture.

Description:

Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) or Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). 
Shunga
(Erotic picture). Date: c.1838. Size: ca. 11 3/4” x 9 1/5” inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition.
Series: ‘Edo nishiki-e azuma bunko (Edo Brocades, The Eastern Library)’. Minor marks and flaws but overall in a wonderful state! Highly detailed carving with superb use of metallic pigments and gauffrage.

“A striking image portraying a close-up of a romantic couple who prepare themselves for intercourse. The origami figures behind the woman are a reminder of her previous activities.”

Reference: p.126/127 in Kuniyoshi no Shunga (Bessatsy Taiyou) by Yoshihiko Shirakura and Shugo Asano.

 

 

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Shunga Masterwork – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Delighted Couple – c.1838.

Shunga Masterwork – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Delighted Couple – c.1838.
> Click on the Picture.

Description:

Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) or Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). 
Shunga
(Erotic picture). Date: c.1838. Size: ca. 11 3/4” x 9 1/5” inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition.
Series: ‘Edo nishiki-e azuma bunko (Edo Brocades, The Eastern Library)’. Some transfer staining, minor marks and flaws but overall in a wonderful state! Highly detailed carving with superb use of metallic pigments and gauffrage.

“A superb cinematographic-like shot of an excited couple shown from the waist up wonderfully set against a dark blue ground. The man looking at the woman has put his arm into her kimono’s opening and while she is trying to stop him, she smiles and covers her mouth.”

References:
p.124/125 in Kuniyoshi no Shunga (Bessatsy Taiyou) by Yoshihiko Shirakura and Shugo Asano.
p.158 (Fig. 158) in Shunga, the Erotic Art of Japan by M. Fagioli.
p.448/449 in Poem of the Pillow and Other Stories by Utamaro, Hokusai, Kuniyoshi...etc. by Gian Carlo Calza.

This design was also used as the book cover ( see image above this page! ) on a Japanese book on Kuniyoshi.

 

 

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Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Unwelcome Spies – c.1838.

Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Unwelcome Spies – c.1838.
    > Click on the Picture.

Description:

Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) or Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). 
Shunga
(Erotic picture). Date: c.1838. Size: ca. 11 3/4” x 9 1/5” inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition.
Series: ‘Edo nishiki-e azuma bunko (Edo Brocades, The Eastern Library)’. Minor marks and flaws but overall in a wonderful state! Highly detailed carving with superb use of metallic pigments and gauffrage.

“A couple is in the act of love while the woman is closing the bamboo curtains to avoid unwelcome spies.”

Reference: p.129 in Kuniyoshi no Shunga (Bessatsy Taiyou) by Yoshihiko Shirakura and Shugo Asano.

 

 

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Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Nipple – c.1838.

Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Nipple – c.1838.
  > Click on the Picture.

Description:

Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) or Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). 
Shunga
(Erotic picture). Date: c.1838. Size: ca. 11 3/4” x 9 1/5” inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition.
Series: ‘Edo nishiki-e azuma bunko (Edo Brocades, The Eastern Library)’. Minor marks and flaws but overall in a wonderful state! Highly detailed carving with superb use of metallic pigments and gauffrage.

“A male lover is suckling (in Japan this has a humorous ‘childish’ connotation) on of his wife’s breasts. Both man and woman are completely naked which is rather rare in shunga depictions.”

Reference: p.128 in Kuniyoshi no Shunga (bessatsy Taiyou) by Yoshihiko Shirakura and Shugo Asano.

 

 

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Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Privacy – c.1838.

Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Privacy – c.1838.
> Click on the Picture.

Description:

Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) or Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). 
Shunga
(Erotic picture). Date: c.1838. Size: ca. 11 3/4” x 9 1/5” inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition.
Series: ‘Edo nishiki-e azuma bunko (Edo Brocades, The Eastern Library)’. Minor marks and flaws but overall in a wonderful state! Highly detailed carving with superb use of metallic pigments and gauffrage.

“A man is closing the door before he is going to have intercourse with his wife. She is excitingly biting her collar.”

 

 

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Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Ear Picker – c.1838.

Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Ear Picker – c.1838.
> Click on the Picture.

Description:

Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) or Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). 
Shunga
(Erotic picture). Date: c.1838. Size: ca. 11 3/4” x 9 1/5” inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition.
Series: ‘Edo nishiki-e azuma bunko (Edo Brocades, The Eastern Library)’. Minor marks and flaws but overall in a wonderful state! Highly detailed carving with superb use of metallic pigments and gauffrage.

“A couple share an intimate moment with the woman taking care of her husband’s ear with an ear picker.”

 

 

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Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Desirous Kiss – c.1838.

Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Desirous Kiss – c.1838.
> Click on the Picture.

Description:

Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) or Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). 
Shunga
(Erotic picture). Date: c.1838. Size: ca. 11 3/4” x 9 1/5” inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition.
Series: ‘Edo nishiki-e azuma bunko (Edo Brocades, The Eastern Library)’. Minor marks and flaws but overall in a wonderful state! Highly detailed carving with superb use of metallic pigments and gauffrage.

“A desirously kissing couple involved in the act of love. In Japanese culture kissing is only reserved to beloved ones.”

 

 

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Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Squatting – c.1838.

Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Squatting – c.1838.
> Click on the Picture.

Description:

Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) or Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). 
Shunga
(Erotic picture). Date: c.1838. Size: ca. 11 3/4” x 9 1/5” inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition.
Series: ‘Edo nishiki-e azuma bunko (Edo Brocades, The Eastern Library)’. Minor marks and flaws but overall in a wonderful state! Highly detailed carving with superb use of metallic pigments and gauffrage.

“A lovely scene in which a woman and her male partner have an orgasmic moment. In a state of ecstacy she is squatting on top of him. The facial expressions of both protagonists are similar but they are facing opposite directions.”

 

 

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Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Impatience – c.1838.

Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Impatience – c.1838.
> Click on the Picture.

Description:

Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) or Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). 
Shunga
(Erotic picture). Date: c.1838. Size: ca. 11 3/4” x 9 1/5” inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition.
Series: ‘Edo nishiki-e azuma bunko (Edo Brocades, The Eastern Library)’. Minor marks and flaws but overall in a wonderful state! Highly detailed carving with superb use of metallic pigments and gauffrage..

“An impatient excited male is grabbing between the legs of a chambermaid who is holding a sake carafe.”

Reference: p.159 (Fig. 173) in Shunga, the Erotic Art of Japan by M. Fagioli.

 

 

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Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Close-up Excited Beauty – c.1838.

Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Close-up Excited Beauty – c.1838.

> Click on the Picture.

Description:

Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) or Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). 
Shunga
(Erotic picture). Date: c.1838. Size: ca. 6 4/5” x 9 4/5” inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition.
Series: ‘Edo nishiki-e azuma bunko (Edo Brocades, The Eastern Library)’. Two small wormholes in the margin and tiny bindingholes. Minor marks and flaws but overall in a wonderful state! Highly detailed carving with superb use of metallic pigments and gauffrage.

“A needy woman is biting her collar as she looks seductively at the viewer.”

 

 

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Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Close-up Beauty With Rice – c.1838.

Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Close-up Beauty With Rice – c.1838.

> Click on the Picture.

Description:

Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) or Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). 
Shunga
(Erotic picture). Date: c.1838. Size: ca. 6 4/5” x 9 4/5” inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition.
Series: ‘Edo nishiki-e azuma bunko (Edo Brocades, The Eastern Library)’. Tiny binding holes. Minor marks and flaws but overall in a wonderful state! Highly detailed carving with superb use of metallic pigments and gauffrage.

“A beautiful portrayal of a lonely woman absorbed in her thoughts. She is holding a small bundle of dry rice in her hand. Spring is the season of fertility and in Japan dry rice (seed) symbolizes this. For this reason a lot of shunga scenes are enacted during the rice planting.”

 

 

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Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Bamboo Curtain – c.1838.

Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Bamboo Curtain – c.1838.

> Click on the Picture.

Description:

Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) or Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). 
Shunga
(Erotic picture). Date: c.1838. Size: ca. 6 4/5” x 9 4/5” inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition.
Series: ‘Edo nishiki-e azuma bunko (Edo Brocades, The Eastern Library)’. Tiny binding holes. Minor marks and flaws but overall in a wonderful state! Highly detailed carving with superb use of metallic pigments and gauffrage.

“A close-up of an enraptured beauty holding a bamboo curtain. The invisible man on the right has slipped under her kimono touching her bosom.”

 

 

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Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Close-up Vagina – c.1838.

Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Close-up Vagina – c.1838.

> Click on the Picture.

Description:

Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) or Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). 
Shunga
(Erotic picture). Date: c.1838. Size: ca. 6 4/5” x 9 4/5” inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition.
Series: ‘Edo nishiki-e azuma bunko (Edo Brocades, The Eastern Library)’. A small wormhole and tiny binding holes in the margin. Minor marks and flaws but overall in a wonderful state! Highly detailed carving with superb use of metallic pigments and gauffrage.

“A superb design featuring a close-up of a vagina.”

 

 

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Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Vaginal Close-up – c.1838.

Shunga – Kuniyoshi/Hiroshige – Vaginal Close-up – c.1838.

> Click on the Picture.

Description:

Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) or Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). 
Shunga
(Erotic picture). Date: c.1838. Size: ca.6 4/5 ” x 9 4/5” inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition.
Series: ‘Edo nishiki-e azuma bunko (Edo Brocades, The Eastern Library)’. Tiny binding holes. Minor marks and flaws but overall in a wonderful state! Highly detailed carving with superb use of metallic pigments and gauffrage

“Nicely detailed portrayal of a man’s hand touching a vulva.”

 

 


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