|index of the exhibition|
a: A beauty wearing red and purple hides her head behind the shoulder of her lover in a blue plaid kosode. At the moment of climax he promises fidelity: "I will not sleep with someone else. I will make you come...you're now about to come...make it tight!" She responds: "Don't sleep with someone else. I am coming!"
b: A young woman wearing a turquoise blue kosode is excited in anticipation: "Somehow I feel pain in my chest." Her lover reassures her before trying to commence: "That pain will turn into great pleasure soon."
c: A married woman mounts her young lover who wears a green kosode decorated with white blossoms. She is concerned about discretion: "I think we should move on to the bedroom, people can hear you. Please be a little less noisy." Her lover responds: "I feel guilty to your husband," but she seems to be enjoying herself too much: "You are such a considerate person...what am I going to do? I am coming."
d: A man wearing a blue striped kosode holds his lover's leg over his shoulder. As they reach climaxes he worries: "I think someone is coming...what are we going to do? I'm about to come." She bites her collar trying to control herself: "I can't believe someone is coming at a moment like this...I'm coming too"
e: A man wearing a brown striped kosode stimulates his lover but asks her to hold back: "Don't leave me, hang on." She throws her head back in ecstasy and implores: "Don't tease me. Stop touching and put it in, I can't stand it."
f: A woman wearing a blue and white yukata throws her head back as her lover stimulates her: "I can't stand it, please do it right now. I would like to enjoy it." He answers: "Thank you for enjoying it, I'm really excited to see you too, I'm really hard."
g: A man wearing a deep purple kosode holds his lover from behind and describes how he is pleasuring her: "I am sucking your breast and putting the whole thing in." She responds: "Oh no what am I going to do? I am coming."
h: An inexperienced woman wearing a pink kosode decorated with a delicate silver swirl pattern wonders: "Does everybody feel this good? Oh I think I'm coming!" Her new lover expresses appreciation: "Thank you, I am enjoying the feeling and I'm about to be inside you."
i: A completely naked man with a horimono ('body suit') tattoo is on top of his lover wearing a lavender colored kosode. He has just finished a bath: "Sex after bathing is extraordinary." She pretends to object but is enjoying herself nevertheless: "Stop doing it, it's still mid-day...I'm about to come."
j: A couple, both wearing light-weight blue and white cotton yukata embrace tenderly. She wears the long-sleeved robe of an unmarried woman and has her hair up in a Western-influence chignon tied with a girlish pink bow. She is young and inexperienced, "I'm feeling very shy and my heart beats fast," but her lover is gentle, "Just hold it there, you will feel better."
k: A man in a green striped kimono makes love to a beauty wearing rich layers of red, pink and lavender. She bites her sleeve and tries to distract herself: "Please say another joke, I'm starting to feel good." He appreciates her: "I always enjoy your great vagina."
l: A couple wearing striped bathing suits face each other, she has her feet up on his shoulders and throws her head back in pleasure. He describes how he is stimulating her: "You will enjoy being touched in this area," and she answers: "I'm coming again."
Attributed to Tomioka Eisen, 1864-1905
The Scent of the Flower
(Hana No Kaori)
set of twelve koban shunga with original fukuro (wrapper); each print embellished with very fine metallic details and karazuri ('blind printing'), the wrapper inscribed in ink (most-likely by the owner) Meiji sanju hachinen shigatsu (Meiji 38 , 4th month), ca. 1905
each koban yoko-e approximately 3 5/8 by 5 in., 9.2 by 12.8 cm
fukuro 5 5/8 by 3 7/8 in., 14.3 by 10 cm (folded)
The wrapper is further marked on the verso with inscribed ink and pencil notations including an indication that the set was intended as a wedding present: Keikkon wo musubu (....'for the wedding').
Unlike most Edo-period shunga sets, this set of small deluxe prints depicts only passionate encounters between amorous couples. There are no resisting partners, propositions or manipulations. The primary message is of mutual pleasure, and most of the dialogue is devoted to describing their appreciation and excitement, which is heightened by typical anxieties regarding privacy.