anonymous, late 19th/early 20th century
ink and color on paper, with six illustrations accompanied by text, unsigned
hand scroll 7 1/8 by 69 1/4 in., 18 by 176 cm
A small hand scroll depicting a narrative of a beautiful but lonely young wife who is visited by a ghostly lover. The ghost first appears as a looming ominous profile watching her from behind a folding screen as she sits with her robe revealingly open holding a black and white photograph of her absent husband. The text reveals her thoughts: "My husband is in the distance, I am cherishing him, we used to sleep right next to each other temakura ('arm-pillowing').
In the next scene his monstrous dark hand grabs her kimono collar from behind, her arms and legs flailing futilely. She is alarmed: "Oh no, there's robber coming in!" He responds: "Be quiet I'm not an ordinary robber!" She begs for mercy: "Please stop I'll give you anything." To which he responds: "There only one thing I want."
Then the wraith ravages her: "No matter how you resist you can't do much, the man's force is too strong. Stop resisting, you might hurt yourself." She covers her face with the sleeve of her robe and surrenders: "I can't do anything, just kill me!"
However, in the following scene there is a transition, he has taken the form of a man who kisses her breasts and she participates by raising her legs. The text describes his technique in detail: "Even though she tries to resist it, he inserts it deep and shallow, using the secret tactic of three deep thrusts and nine shallow thrusts. Now she is losing her mind, she puts her hands around his back tightly and starts to moan. He is delighted by her reaction, puts all his energy into it and comes."
In the following illustration she lies exhausted and we see his ethereal feet departing "like smoke." The text describes her confusion: "When she realized the night is almost over, she thinks if someone had seen it she would be in trouble. As she became more conscious she felt ashamed, looking at the crumpled clothing, she wasn't sure if the awful night was real or not. How terrible to betray her husband!"
The final image is a large detail of his paranormal genitalia beside the beauty her pleasuring herself in spite of her conflicted feelings: "However she vividly enjoyed the mighty man's force and cherished his touch and the pleasures of the night!"
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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