By Azuma Otoko Iccho, a pen name. 14 double-page & six full-page woodcuts, all finely color-printed. 15; 13; 11 folding leaves. Three vols. 8vo, orig. color-printed patterned & decorated semi-stiff wrappers, orig. silk color-printed labels on upper covers, new stitching. [Japan]: according to World Cat: .
First edition of this very rare shunga book; WorldCat locates only one copy, in Japan. The artist of this work, using the pen name “Maromaru,” is Kunimaro Utagawa (active 1850-75), who was a pupil of Kunisada Utagawa. The title refers to the 48 kimarite or shijuuhatte (winning moves in sumo wrestling), suggesting an abundance of pleasurable positions and sexual techniques.
The fine double-page color-printed woodcuts show peeping “Thomasinas” and couples engaging in sex in many positions. The covers are most unusual, and the color-printed decorations almost suggest Western armorial crests. The single-page color-printed illustrations make constant references to sumo matches and competitions. One of these shows two wooden toy sumo wrestlers grappling (or are they embracing?).
Almost all of the techniques that make Japanese illustrated books so remarkable are utilized here. Finely illustrated and richly colored, this late shunga employs bokashi, the delicate variation of shading of pigments within the image; application of mica; blind-embossing; and the very ample use of metallic pigments. The garments are a mixture of extremely complex textures, colors, and patterns, all accentuated by blind-embossing and multiple woodblock impressions. There are two kinds of black, flat black and shiny black, giving a most unusual appearance.
Very good set, preserved in a modern wooden box. There is some thumbing and occasional stains. Several minor stamps of a Japanese library that, at one time, owned this book. The lower outer covers are somewhat discolored.
❧ WorldCat 1020942293.
Item ID: 8342