Scroll (320 x 5250 mm.), silk-brocade front outer endpaper, with floral drawing in color at beginning, wooden core roller. [Japan]: after 1823.
The 12 finely rendered erotic drawings present on this scroll, in the famous “set of 12” format, have been attributed on the manuscript label of the scroll’s box to Chōkyōsai Eiri (active 1790s-1801), a little known pupil of Hosoda Eishi (1756-1829), who for some years was an equal rival to Utamaro. Chōkyōsai Eiri produced an album of 13 large-size color woodblock prints, entitled Fumi no kiyogaki [Neat Version of the Love Letter [or] Pure Drawings of Female Beauty (1801)] (see Clark et al., Shunga, pp. 310-11 & 400-01 for two images in the series and their descriptions).
The underdrawings for six of the prints in the series (drawings 1, 2, 3, 5 (partial), 7, and 12), including the well-known image of two women using a dildo together, are present. Drawings 8, 9, 10, and 11 can be identified as images from Hokusai’s Fukujusō [Adonis Flower] (ca. 1822-23). The remaining two drawings are independent images that might have appeared in other publications. The artist has placed small manuscript annotations on the images regarding colors.
In spite of the manuscript information on the box’s label, we believe these are highly skilled later copies.
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: 9739