Katsushika Hokusai, 1760-1849
Picture-Book Models of Couples
(Ehon Tsuhi no Hinagata)
from an album of twelve prints; depicting a man wearing an plaid kimono making love to his partner under a kotatsu, an illustrated book is tossed aside to the lower left, and another volume with a matching cover rests on top of the kotatsu, ca. 1812
oban yoko-e 10 1/2 by 14 3/4 in., 26.7 by 37.4 cm
The couple were apparently stimulated by the contents of the book which has a suggestive title, Inyo awase gyokumonei ('in' and 'yo' refer to the female and male energies, also known as 'yin' and 'yang' in Chinese). The title of this series, Tsui no hinagata, is a typical play on words. Tsui (or tsuhi) can be read as 'couple' or 'male and female pairs' or it could be pronounced tsubi, an antiquated term for vulva. Hinagata can refer to 'patterns' such as interlocking kimono patterns, or it can mean 'sample.' As such, the title could be read as something as innocuous as 'Patterns of Couples' or as lewd as 'Samples of Vulvas.'
Fukuda, Ukiyo-e no higi ga, 1978, p. 101
Hillier, The Art of Hokusai in Book Illustration, 1980, p. 166-169, no. 143
Forrer, Hokusai, 1988, p. 228, no. 251
Hayashi and Lane (eds.), The Complete Ukiyo-e Shunga, no. 13, Hokusai, 1997, pl. 6
Uhlenbeck and Winkel, Japanese Erotic Fantasies, 2005, pp. 157-158
Scholten Japanese Art is temporarily closed.
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
for more information.
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
Join our mailing list...