Item ID: 9897 Nanshoku imakagami 男色今鑑 [The New Mirror of Male Love]; super-title on labels: Fūryū kingyo tai 風流金魚袋 [characters indecipherable]. NANSHOKU 男色, HOMOSEXUAL LOVE.
Nanshoku imakagami 男色今鑑 [The New Mirror of Male Love]; super-title on labels: Fūryū kingyo tai 風流金魚袋 [characters indecipherable].
Nanshoku imakagami 男色今鑑 [The New Mirror of Male Love]; super-title on labels: Fūryū kingyo tai 風流金魚袋 [characters indecipherable].
Nanshoku imakagami 男色今鑑 [The New Mirror of Male Love]; super-title on labels: Fūryū kingyo tai 風流金魚袋 [characters indecipherable].
Nanshoku imakagami 男色今鑑 [The New Mirror of Male Love]; super-title on labels: Fūryū kingyo tai 風流金魚袋 [characters indecipherable].
Nanshoku imakagami 男色今鑑 [The New Mirror of Male Love]; super-title on labels: Fūryū kingyo tai 風流金魚袋 [characters indecipherable].
Nanshoku imakagami 男色今鑑 [The New Mirror of Male Love]; super-title on labels: Fūryū kingyo tai 風流金魚袋 [characters indecipherable].
Nanshoku imakagami 男色今鑑 [The New Mirror of Male Love]; super-title on labels: Fūryū kingyo tai 風流金魚袋 [characters indecipherable].
Nanshoku imakagami 男色今鑑 [The New Mirror of Male Love]; super-title on labels: Fūryū kingyo tai 風流金魚袋 [characters indecipherable].
Nanshoku imakagami 男色今鑑 [The New Mirror of Male Love]; super-title on labels: Fūryū kingyo tai 風流金魚袋 [characters indecipherable].
Nanshoku imakagami 男色今鑑 [The New Mirror of Male Love]; super-title on labels: Fūryū kingyo tai 風流金魚袋 [characters indecipherable].
Nanshoku imakagami 男色今鑑 [The New Mirror of Male Love]; super-title on labels: Fūryū kingyo tai 風流金魚袋 [characters indecipherable].

The New Mirror of Male Love

Nanshoku imakagami 男色今鑑 [The New Mirror of Male Love]; super-title on labels: Fūryū kingyo tai 風流金魚袋 [characters indecipherable].

Five double-page & 10 single-page black & white woodcut illus. 21.5; 19.5; 18.5; 17.5; 22 folding leaves. Five vols. 8vo (259 x 179 mm.), orig. blue wrappers (rubbed); orig. printed title labels (partly perished), new stitching. [Kyoto]: Hishiya 菱屋, 1711.

First edition, and very rare, of these 15 tales of homosexual love and desire between old and young samurai, many violent and accompanied by graphic scenes of murder and betrayal. Nanshoku is an understudied category of shunga, in which male-male romantic relationships (shudō), frequently involving an older man and a young boy, are hinted at in an array of visual cues, allusions, and innuendos. The earliest known examples of nanshoku were published in the mid-17th century, and very few original editions survive because of the controversial nature of homosexual relationships in Japanese society.

The title of our book is a clear reference to Saikaku Ihara’s 井原西鶴 extremely famous collection of short stories, Nanshoku okagami 男色大鑑 (1687), which contains 40 short stories of amorous relations between men, usually an older man and a young man or adolescent.

Like Ihara’s book, the illustrations in our work are not overtly erotic but depict key dramatic and brutal moments. However, there are many suggestions in the images making it clear the nature of the homosexual themes throughout. In the first double-page image, there is a procession of samurai, and we can see one of them turning his head and looking with great intensity at a kneeling young samurai. In a subsequent image, we see a beautiful young samurai being rescued from the water. It is clear that the older samurai rescuers are making such a considerable effort because of the young man’s good looks. Another woodcut depicts a young samurai who has just committed seppuku (ritual suicide), seemingly from a broken heart.

Many of the young samurai in the images are wearing very womanly kimono. Another image depicts two samurai having an assignation. One is dressed in what one would consider a woman’s kimono. In the fifth volume, there is a woodcut of two samurai in the elaborate garden of a mansion, one of whom is admiring the other with considerable longing. The final woodcut in this volume shows a young samurai trying to save the life of another, older samurai, who has just been brutally attacked with a sword by a jealous rival.

The preface provides a fascinating discussion on the nature of nanshoku.

Books of this illicit genre are particularly rare. Japanese erotic books devoted entirely to male–male love “have suffered even greater attrition than heterosexual erotica, particularly in the 20th century.”–Shunga. Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art (British Museum: 2013), p. 443.

In very good condition, preserved in a chitsu. Inoffensive dampstaining at the beginning of Vol. I, and expertly mended wormholes, some touching the woodcuts. Unknown ownership seal on first page of first volume.

Price: $45,000.00

Item ID: 9897