[Shunshoku] Karine no yume [monogatari] [Dreams While Napping at a Temporary Brothel]. artist KUNIYOSHI UTAGAWA.
[Shunshoku] Karine no yume [monogatari] [Dreams While Napping at a Temporary Brothel].
[Shunshoku] Karine no yume [monogatari] [Dreams While Napping at a Temporary Brothel].
[Shunshoku] Karine no yume [monogatari] [Dreams While Napping at a Temporary Brothel].
[Shunshoku] Karine no yume [monogatari] [Dreams While Napping at a Temporary Brothel].
[Shunshoku] Karine no yume [monogatari] [Dreams While Napping at a Temporary Brothel].

Kuniyoshi Makes a Comeback

[Shunshoku] Karine no yume [monogatari] [Dreams While Napping at a Temporary Brothel].

17 double-page & four single-page woodcuts, all color-printed. 12; 11; 10 folding leaves. Three vols. 8vo, orig. embossed & color-decorated semi-stiff boards (boards a little rubbed & soiled), orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. [Edo: ca. 1846].

First edition and very rare; there is no copy listed in WorldCat. Kuniyoshi (1798-1861), was “one of the great Ukiyo-e artists of the nineteenth century.”–Hillier, The Art of the Japanese Book, p. 890. Kuniyoshi also had a substantial output of erotic books as well.

During the Tenpo Reforms of 1841-43, one of Kuniyoshi’s prints was confiscated due to its politically charged content; he was fined, and his reputation as an artist suffered. By the time of the publication of the present book, the repressive conventions of the Tenpo Reforms had relaxed, and Kuniyoshi regained his prominence as an artist.

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. Our book depicts a series of brothels dispersed through the greater Edo area.

The double-page color-printed title contains a popularity chart of prostitutes with a facing image of two cats mating on the ground and a bird in the sky pursuing another bird.

The first double-page woodcut depicts prostitutes behind a latticed window in a brothel named Maizuruya, relocated to Kamakura, with bustling men and women passing by on the street. The next double-page woodcut depicts a busy stairwell and hallway in the brothel. In this image are particularly effective silhouettes of figures behind a shoji sliding door.

These are followed by a series of fine colored woodcuts of men and women (including many “star” prostitutes, known as oiran) engaged in sex in various brothels, featuring a peeping Tom, a fight scene involving a jealous man breaking up an intimate moment between a geisha and another man (who has just ejaculated), secret encounters, a brutal rape scene of a tied-down woman and four hoodlums, a courtesan masturbating her blue-collar client, etc.

The color printing throughout is rich, with ample use of saturated colors, metallic pigments including gold, and some embossing.

Fine set, with some minor thumbing.

❧ Timothy Clark et al., eds., Shunga. Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art (British Museum: 2013), p. 245.

Price: $5,500.00

Item ID: 7726

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