Isoda Koryusai

fl. ca. 1764-1789

Twelve Bouts in the Way of Love: Shamisen Instructor
(Shikido torikumi juniban)

the second design from a series of twelve; a shamisen instructor taking advantage of his young student, he holds her left hand against her chest and pushes her right arm to the ground, pinning her down with the weight of his body, ca. 1775-77

oban yoko-e 9 7/8 by 15 in., 25 by 38.1 cm

This series likens sexual positions to grappling or holds of a sumo match (torikumi). Only the first sheet of the series is signed. It is arguably Koryusai's most famous and influential shunga series. Exploiting the scale of the more widely-available larger oban-sized paper, Koryusai maximizes the proportions of the figures and fills the space with their robust curves surrounded by decorative elements that envelope the central subjects. For a series inspired by sumo wrestling, the compositions are accordingly full and aggressive.

Highlights of Japanese Printmaking Part 4: Shunga, Scholten Japanese Art, 2014, cat. no. 30

Kobayashi Tadashi (ed.), Ukiyo-e soroimono makura-e: Shunga, 1997, Vol. I, p. 27
Inge Klompmakers, Japanese Erotic Prints: Shunga by Harunobu and Koryusai, 2001, p. 129
Shirakura Yoshihiko, Eiri shunga ehon mokuroku, 2007, p. 156

price: $4,000


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Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
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site last updated
September 28, 2022

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475