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Kuniyoshi Shunga

Kuniyoshi Shunga

Kuniyoshi shunga. A Japanese shunga print.. © Copyright 1998-2014


Attributed to Utagawa Kuniyoshi 1797-1861 (歌川国芳) - A small shunga (erotic print) of three English women attacking a "samurai" in exotic surroundings.

A Japanese man being overpowered by three foreign women all in a setting of exotic Western buildings, presumably meant to be London. The women are English as the picture has an inset of the English flag (not the Union Jack) and the text in the subtitle cartouche says "igirisu" - English. It is very rare to find a pre-Yokohama depiction of Englishmen printed in Edo.

The Flag of England is the St George's Cross. It seems odd an Edo period picture would carry such a detailed reference. However there was a printed hand scroll of the flags of the world published around this date 1840s-50s. There were also further painted similar hand scrolls circulated. These scrolls usually carry the flags of England (St. George’s Cross), Scotland (St. Andrew's Cross), and Ireland (St. Patrick’s Cross), and also the combination of these flags - the Union Jack.

It is the only scene of this kind and period I have seen in this format. It is not very shunga though; you just get the faintest whiff of the pubics of one of the women. However an exotic environment always seems to carry a strong sexual atmosphere.

This is not a Yokohama-e shunga (1860s) but an earlier print, published around 1850.

Size: Mamegiri-ban, 8.9 x 12.3 cm.
Condition: Fine, minimal soiling to margins.
Impression: Fine with deep blind printing, gold and silver printing, on deluxe surimono-type Hosho paper.
Date: 1845-55

Price: $ 220

Shunga (春画) - Spring Picture (an erotic art print or picture)

Eight more prints from this set by Kuniyoshi are available. Prices from $60 to $95. Very good to fine condition.

We have a large collection of 17th-19th century ukiyo-e shunga, Japanese woodblock printed shunga as well as shunga paintings of the Ukiyo-e, Shijo and Kano school. All for sale.


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