Katsukawa Shuncho, Threads of Modern Encounters

Katsukawa Shuncho, Threads of Modern Encounters

Katsukawa Shuncho, fl. ca. 1780s-1790s

Threads of Modern Encounters: 11, Sash
(Imayo Irokumi no Ito)

the eleventh design from an album of twelve prints; a young girl wearing a pale grey furisode an older man tugging on her obi, ca. 1790

A: Green Obi

oban yoko-e 9 7/8 by 15 1/4 in., 25.2 by 38.6 cm


B: Purple Obi

oban yoko-e 10 by 14 7/8 in., 25.5 by 37.9 cm


The older man grabs the wrist of a teenaged girl and pulls off her obi. He tries to quell her protestations: "Be quiet, you're grown up enough" and is defiant at the prospect of being caught: "I am going to finish very quickly and I am going to make you a real woman." But she doesn't give in: "Stop it, I don't care if I am going to be a woman or not, and someone's coming, stop it" and calls for help from her Mother (or Mistress).

A variation of the benigirai-e is the murasaki-e (purple pictures), a palette which also avoided red but emphasized purple. In this case it would appear that the impression with the green obi, a benigirai-e, is slightly earlier than the impression with the purple obi, a murasaki-e.

Evans and Evans, Shunga, The Art of Love in Japan, 1975, no. 6.52
Shirakura, Eiri shunga ehon mokuroku, 2007, p. 84
Calza, Poem of the Pillow and Other Stories, 2010, p. 22


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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