Seven double-page (one of which has flaps & folds out into a four-panel scene) and two single-page woodcuts, all finely color-printed, and nine double-page black & white woodcuts. One color-printed title-page pasted down on inner upper wrapper, 24 folding leaves. Small 8vo, orig. color-printed upper wrapper, with embossing, decorated lower wrapper, new stitching. [Edo]: Preface dated 1864.
First edition and very rare; we find no copy in WorldCat. The Preface was written by Tanekiyo Ryusuitei (1823-1907), using his pen name “Insuitei.”
Following one of the frequent fires in the famous pleasure quarters of Yoshiwara, often started by the prostitutes in an effort to free themselves, many brothels temporarily re-established themselves in other locations throughout Edo. This book was issued as sort of a guide to the newly relocated brothels and very much reflects the changes that shunga books were going through during the end of the Edo period.
The first double-page woodcut depicts the exterior of a thriving brothel in Edo, with many prostitutes within looking out to the numerous passing men and women on the bustling street. This opens up into a four-panel image of the interior of the brothel, showing men being entertained and engaging in several sexual activities. The following six double-page woodcuts depict the “star” prostitutes, all engaged in sex, with the names of the brothels where they worked. All the rooms shown are very luxuriously furnished with silk screens, ornate fabrics, and beautiful furniture. These woodcuts are all printed in richly saturated colors, including silver and gold pigments, and with complex embossing.
The cult of sex organs, where phalluses are objects of veneration and worship, is also exhibited here in a most uncommon image. The final color-printed woodcut — single-page — depicts an altar inside the brothel where a phallus is the center of worship. Envelopes containing cash, left by clients, are piled in front. See Suzuki Kenko’s most fascinating “Popular Cults of Sex Organs in Japan: Guardian Deities, Auspicious Objects and Votive Paintings” in Timothy Clark et al., eds., Shunga. Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art (British Museum: 2013), pp. 364-67.
The text section contains nine very interesting double-page black-and-white woodcuts showing elaborate scenes of entertainment, men and women having “intimate moments,” the aftermath of sex with copious dribbling secretions, used napkin wipes on the floor, etc. These scenes can be described as “action-packed.”
Fine and fresh copy. One black-and-white woodcut has two small holes.
Item ID: 7716