Scroll on paper, with 12 erotic paintings, including one of two lesbians, in brush & ink and color washes.
Scroll (290 x 5840 mm. including endpapers), silk brocade endpaper at front depicting a pair of Mandarin ducks (symbol for fidelity between two people), wooden core roller. [Japan: late Edo].
A fine erotic scroll with 12 paintings (the well-known “set of 12“ format), in vivid coloring, depicting a range of sexual activities. As in many shunga handscrolls, the paintings feature a sequence of lovemaking positions in no apparent order, with no development, simply presenting a variety of couplings and sexual techniques. All the participants in this scroll have Heian-period hairstyles, and several of the couples are clearly aristocrats. In the scenes, the copulating figures are outlined only in black ink, while their private parts and robes are vividly colored.
In one scene, we see a lesbian couple. One of the women is disguised as a man, and the other woman is tied up but able to insert a dildo in her companion’s vagina. Three of the scenes depict ménage à trois situations involving one man and two women. In one of these scenes, the man is having intercourse with a woman who appears to be a nun while, at the same time, performing cunnilingus on a very young woman.
Fine condition, preserved in an old wooden box.
❧ Akiko Yano, “Shunga Paintings before the ‘Floating World’” in Timothy Clark et al., eds., Shunga. Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art (British Museum: 2013), pp. -72–”The concept of twelve in shunga had more to do with a general sense of completeness, a full cycle.”.
Item ID: 8537