Utamaro, Shunga Panel from Michiyuki koi no Futusao

Kitagawa Utamaro (1753 - 1806) Shunga Panel from Michiyuki koi no Futusao ('Love Songs for the Thick-Necked Shamisen'), Vol. 2/3, 1802. Deluxe Oban Diptych.

This delightful page from the album Michiyuki koi no Futusao (or 'Love Songs for the Thick-Necked Shamisen'), of 1802, is a fine example of late Utamaro shunga. Taken from the three volume album, each with two single-page and seven double-page illustrations, in the hanshibon format, this is from a previously undescribed colour edition using the first state line-blocks. The depictions in the book show famous couples inspired by theatrical dramas of the Japanese puppet theatre, the Bunraku; and by chronicles on famous lovers, such as Gompachi and Komurosaki (the names of the lovers are written on each illustration). The book contains two well-known illustrations of homosexual activities (homosexual scenes in Utamaro's books are very rare). The opening page depicts a scene in a theatre, with an actor on stage and a few spectators with phallic heads, much like the phallic-headed god in the title page of this Toyokuni I.

Edo pornography differs from the perceptions at least, of modern pornography, in that the end user was just as likely to be female as much as male. This great, if explicit piece is by one of the great ukiyo-e artists of all time. Beautifully produced, the two sheets are joined, colour and impression are fine and with the exception of some aging to the corners, condition is also fine.

26.1 cm x  21.4 cm.