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koban shunga

a: A beauty wearing red and purple hides her head behind the shoulder of her lover in a blue plaid kosode. At the moment of climax he promises fidelity: "I will not sleep with someone else. I will make you're now about to come...make it tight!" She responds: "Don't sleep with someone else. I am coming!"


Attributed to Tomioka Eisen, 1864-1905

The Scent of the Flower
(Hana No Kaori)

set of twelve koban shunga with original fukuro (wrapper); each print embellished with very fine metallic details and karazuri ('blind printing'), the wrapper inscribed in ink (most-likely by the owner) Meiji sanju hachinen shigatsu (Meiji 38 [1905], 4th month), ca. 1905

each koban yoko-e approximately 3 5/8 by 5 in., 9.2 by 12.8 cm

fukuro 5 5/8 by 3 7/8 in., 14.3 by 10 cm (folded)

The wrapper is further marked on the verso with inscribed ink and pencil notations including an indication that the set was intended as a wedding present: Keikkon wo musubu (....'for the wedding').

Unlike most Edo-period shunga sets, this set of small deluxe prints depicts only passionate encounters between amorous couples. There are no resisting partners, propositions or manipulations. The primary message is of mutual pleasure, and most of the dialogue is devoted to describing their appreciation and excitement, which is heightened by typical anxieties regarding privacy.



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Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
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site last updated
May 29, 2020

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475