Torii Kiyonaga


Twelve Modern Reflections of Love: Maiden
(Imayo juni kagami: kimusume)

an inexperienced teenage girl, wearing a furisode which indicates her youth, is coerced by a visitor, possibly a bookseller or book-lender, ca. 1785

chuban yoko-e 7 5/8 by 10 3/8 in., 19.3 by 26.5 cm

The visitor appears to be an agent of a kashihon'ya (commercial book-lender) who is taking advantage of an absent matron of the house. The girl protests "Stop this, I'm going to tell the mistress." He insists: "You're mature enough, don't be a baby."

One of the ways that ehon (illustrated books) and shunpon (erotic books) were distributed during the Edo Period were by traveling book-lenders. Although erotic prints and books could be acquired at print and bookshops, the advantage offered by the itinerant book-lenders is obvious- the convenience of browsing in one's home and the affordability of borrowing as opposed to purchasing what were often sumptuously produced volumes.

Highlights of Japanese Printmaking Part 4: Shunga, Scholten Japanese Art, 2014, cat. no. 32

Laura Moretti, The Distribution and Circulation of Erotic Prints and Books in the Edo Period, in Shunga: Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art, The British Museum, 2013, pp. 300-305

price: $3,500


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