21 double-page (one with a “trick” fold-out) & four full-page color-printed woodblock illus. 17; 12; 15 folding leaves. Three vols. 8vo, orig. semi-stiff wrappers (rubbed), orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers (not present on the first vol.), orig. stitching. [Japan]: Preface dated 1826.
A remarkable and unusual shunga, which depicts a hermaphrodite (three scenes), a ménage à trois, scenes of voyeurism and masturbation, a childbirth scene, a deity with the face of a vagina, and a nun having sex with a man (two scenes). The color printing and embossing are exquisite throughout, fresh and highly detailed.
The third volume begins with two extremely rare images. The first depicts a husband praying for a baby girl, while his wife prays for a male child. The following scene depicts a midwife assisting the wife, who is bearing a hermaphroditic baby.
There is much to be studied in this book; we have only suggested some of the complex subjects.
There is some debate regarding the artists. WorldCat attributes the images to Utagawa Kuniyoshi and Utagawa Kunisada (accession number 1020973371) but the NIJL erotica database (Enpon Shiryo database) and the Ritsumeikan University ARC database prefer Toyokuni and Kunitora. The author is Enkōbō Tsukinari 猿猴坊 月成. Kunitora (act. 1819-40), a student of Toyokuni, seems to have produced very few books, including illustrated works of popular fiction as well as erotica.
Fine set, with minor thumbing. Minor worming in the first volume.
Item ID: 9801