The Hitachi Sash
(Ehon hitachi obi)
complete set of three fukuro-toji ehon (string-bound illustrated books), dark blue covers with worn paper title slips, numbered jo, chu, ge (top, middle, bottom) with corresponding frontispiece illustrations: the first with a pine branch with a suggestive opening, the second with a section of bamboo, and the third with a flowering sprig of plum, volume I with six double-page erotic illustrations, volume II and III each with seven, and all three with a final single-page illustration of a flower arrangement in phallus-shaped vases, ca. 1800
hanshibon 8 3/8 by 5 7/8 in., 21.3 by 14.8 cm
This set of three ehon appears to be rare. There is an earlier three-volume sumizuri-e set by Utamaro published in 1795 with the same title but the compositions are quite different. The size, format, color palette, and scale of the figures with abundant dialogue in this set is similar to other works by Utamaro produced from approximately 1799 to 1803, the most famous of which is Ehon waraijogo (The Laughing Drinker), ca. 1803. See Lane for comparison with a detail of an aiban print he attributes to Utamaro and dates to possibly the mid-1790s which is a similar composition to the third illustration in the third (ge) volume, in which a beauty pokes her lover's face with a hair ornament while straddling his lap.
Highlights of Japanese Printmaking Part 4: Shunga, Scholten Japanese Art, 2014, cat. no. 38
Richard Lane and Hayashi Yoshikazu (eds.), The Complete Ukiyo-e Shunga, no. 15, In the Quest of the Perfect Girl- Utamaro and Negai no itoguchi, 1997, p. 16, fig 53
Chris Uhlenbeck and Margarita Winkel, Japanese Erotic Fantasies: Sexual Imagery of the Edo Period, 2005, pp., 134-142 (similar works)
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 8, 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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