Isoda Koryusai Bamboo Window

Isoda Koryusai, fl. ca. 1764-1789

Bamboo Window

from an untitled series (with some sheets signed); a woman lies on a futon turned away from her partner and pushes him away with one hand while covering her mouth with the sleeve of her other hand in a gesture of embarrassment or hesitation, they both face an open window through which there is a view of bamboo, ca. 1770-71

chuban yoko-e 7 1/4 by 9 7/8 in., 18.3 by 25 cm

The furtive aspect of an affair is a common theme in shunga. Couples are often depicted as breaking all manner of society's rules or codes of conduct. There are cheating spouses, courtesans with their mabu (non-paying secret lovers), geisha soliciting customers, and everyday people coupling with their inappropriate lovers. Frequently the dialogues discuss the risks, ranging from high anxiety in fear being 'caught' in a dangerous liaison, or mild teasing at the prospect of being embarrassed by copulating in an inopportune place or time. In this case only the timing is of apparent issue. She is uncomfortable: "Somebody may come so please wait," but he is not deterred: "I don't care if somebody comes!"



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.
In order to adhere to New York State guidelines visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing.

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