Isoda Koryusai, Backstage

Isoda Koryusai, fl. ca. 1764-1789


one sheet from an untitled series; a dynamic composition with a young sanbaso dancer in full costume including the mask of Okina (a bearded old man) in a rush to make love, his kotsuzumi (hourglass drum) hangs from a kimono rack, and his suzu (bell-tree) is tossed to the floor, ca. 1770-71

chuban yoko-e 8 1/4 by 11 1/8 in., 21.1 by 28.2 cm

Backstage an Okina dancer is eager for a quickie before he has to go on stage. His lover tries to reason with him: "Somebody is watching, somebody might come! No! No!" But he is frantic: "But I can't stop it! Please let me do it! Please! Please!" To the left past a curtain is the stage entrance and beyond a railing the spectators mill about chatting. Perhaps they are waiting for a performance of a festival version of the kyogen play Okina which was traditionally staged in the first three days of the New Year. The audience members have noticed something is causing a delay and comment that the performance should have started by now.

This composition is very similar to a two-page illustration from Koryusai's three volume set Ehon iro haru koma published in 1774.

This impression published:
Klompmakers, Japanese Erotic Prints, 2001, p. 85, cat. C.3
Uhlenbeck and Winkel, Japanese Erotic Fantasies, 2005, p. 101, no. 23b

Shirakura, Eiri shunga ehon mokuroku, 2007, p. 92



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