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Attributed to Kitagawa Utamaro, Maid and Her Lover

Attributed to Kitagawa Utamaro, 1753-1806

Maid and Her Lover

entwined lovers share a kiss as they hurriedly make love, both are likely servants of a samurai household, she holds a folding fan near their faces (suggesting a pointless gesture of discretion) and wears an ageboshi (silk or paper protective cover) over her coiffure indicating that she managed this clandestine meeting under the guise of an errand, ca. 1802

tanzaku yoko-e 17 by 37.8 cm, 6 3/4 by 14 7/8 in.

Utamaro designed a nearly identical composition depicting a senior maid with her lover in Hana-fubuki (Cherry Blossom Blizzard), a three-volume ehon set published in 1802, and Kikugawa Eizan (1787-1867) designed a similar oban abuna-e ('dangerous picture') of a woman wearing an ageboshi and holding a folding fan from an untitled album published in circa 1810.

References:
Uhlenbeck and Winkel, Japanese Erotic Fantasies, 2005, p. 143, no. 47 (likely from the same series), p. 151 cat. 51 (Eizan oban)
Shirakura and Hayakawa, Shunga: Japanese Erotic Art, 2009, pp. 194-195, no. 105