fl. ca. 1764-1789
one sheet from an untitled series; a dynamic composition with a young sanbaso dancer in full costume including the mask of Okina (a bearded old man) in a rush to make love, his kotsuzumi (hourglass drum) hangs from a kimono rack, and his suzu (bell-tree) is tossed to the floor, ca. 1770-71
chuban yoko-e 8 1/4 by 11 1/8 in., 21.1 by 28.2 cm
Backstage an Okina dancer is eager for a quickie before he has to go on stage. His lover tries to reason with him: "Somebody is watching, somebody might come! No! No!" But he is frantic: "But I can't stop it! Please let me do it! Please! Please!" To the left past a curtain is the stage entrance and beyond a railing the spectators mill about chatting. Perhaps they are waiting for a performance of a festival version of the kyogen play Okina which was traditionally staged in the first three days of the New Year. The audience members have noticed something is causing a delay and comment that the performance should have started by now.
This composition is very similar to a two-page illustration from Koryusai's three volume set Ehon iro haru koma published in 1774.
Inge Klompmakers, Japanese Erotic Prints: Shunga by Harunobu and Koryusai, 2001, p. 85, cat. C.3
Chris Uhlenbeck, Chris, and Margarita Winkel, Japanese Erotic Fantasies: Sexual Imagery of the Edo Period, 2005, p. 101, no. 23b
Highlights of Japanese Printmaking Part 4: Shunga, Scholten Japanese Art, 2014, cat. no. 27
Shirakura Yoshihiko, Eiri shunga ehon mokuroku, 2007, p. 92
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm for no more than two individuals at a time.
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site last updated
March 4, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
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