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Scholten Japanese Art Gallery
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Katsushika Hokusai, 1760-1849
Picture-book Models of Couples
(Ehon tsuhi no hinagata)

from an album of twelve prints; depicting a man wearing an plaid kimono making love to his partner under a kotatsu, an illustrated book is tossed aside to the lower left, and another volume with a matching cover rests on top of the kotatsu, ca. 1812
oban yoko-e 10 1/2 by 14 3/4 in., 26.7 by 37.4 cm
The couple were apparently stimulated by the contents of the book which has a suggestive title, Inyo awase gyokumonei (‘in’ and ‘yo’ refer to the female and male energies, also known as ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ in Chinese). The title of this series, Tsui no hinagata, is a typical play on words. Tsui (or tsuhi) can be read as 'couple' or 'male and female pairs' or it could be pronounced tsubi, an antiquated term for vulva. Hinagata can refer to 'patterns' such as interlocking kimono patterns, or it can mean 'sample.' As such, the title could be read as something as innocuous as 'Patterns of Couples' or as lewd as 'Samples of Vulvas.'
Highlights of Japanese Printmaking Part 4: Shunga, Scholten Japanese Art, 2014, cat. no. 39
Fukuda Kazuhiko, Ukiyo-e no higi ga, 1978, p. 101
Jack Hillier, The Art of Hokusai in Book Illustration, 1980, p. 166-169, no. 143
Matthi Forrer with texts by Edmond de Goncourt, Hokusai, 1988, p. 228, no. 251
Richard Lane and Hayashi Yoshikazu The Complete Ukiyo-e Shunga, no. 13, Hokusai and the Tsuhi no hinagata Shunga Album, 1997, pl. 6
Chris Uhlenbeck and Margarita Winkel, Japanese Erotic Fantasies: Sexual Imagery of the Edo Period, 2005, pp. 157-158
price: $ 5,800