Katsukawa Shuncho

fl. 1781 - 1801

Threads of Modern Encounters: 11, Sash [purple]
(Imayo irokumi no ito: Obi)

the eleventh design from an album of twelve prints; a young girl wearing a pale grey furisode an older man tugging on her obi, ca. 1790

oban yoko-e 10 by 14 7/8 in., 25.5 by 37.9 cm

The older man grabs the wrist of a teenaged girl and pulls off her obi. He tries to quell her protestations: "“Be quiet, you’'re grown up enough”" and is defiant at the prospect of being caught: “"I am going to finish very quickly and I am going to make you a real woman.”" But she doesn'’t give in: “"Stop it, I don’'t care if I am going to be a woman or not," and "someone’'s coming, stop it"” and calls for help from her Mother (or Mistress).

A variation of the benigirai-e is the murasaki-e (purple pictures), a palette which also avoided red but emphasized purple. In this case it would appear that the impression with the green obi, a benigirai-e, is slightly earlier than the impression with the purple obi, a murasaki-e.

Highlights of Japanese Printmaking Part 4: Shunga, Scholten Japanese Art, 2014, cat. no. 35

Tom and Mary Anne Evans, Shunga, The Art of Love in Japan, 1975, no. 6.52
Shirakura Yoshihiko, Eiri shunga ehon mokuroku, 2007, p. 84
Gian Carlo Calza, Poem of the Pillow and Other Stories by Utamaro, Hokusai, Kuniyoshi and Other Artists of the Floating World, 2010, p. 22


price: $5,200


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(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