Suzuki Harunobu, ca. 1724-1770
Amusements at an Archery Gallery
from an untitled series; the young woman holds her sleeve to her chin in a gesture of embarrassment or hesitation as he draws her closer in order to kiss, she obligingly reaches between his legs in spite of her coy demeanor, to the left is an arrangement of autumnal flowers in a tokonoma, and to the right is a black lacquer container holding several arrows, ca. 1769-71
chuban yoko-e 8 1/8 by 11 1/4 in., 20.7 by 28.5 cm
The container of arrows suggest this is a private room at a yaba (or yokyuba), a public archery gallery. Similar to restaurants, teahouses and other locations for popular amusements, yaba were often fronts for prostitution and saiken (guidebooks) were produced in order to navigate their various merits and offerings. This young lady was likely a waitress or geisha sent to entertain a customer with her shamisen. The untidy tray with overturned sake cup, remains of a snack, and chopsticks askew suggest that he has been enjoying her company and solicited her for additional pleasures.
Shirakura, Eiri shunga ehon mokuroku, 2007, p. 228
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
May 5, 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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