Isoda Koryusai

fl. ca. 1764-1789

Prosperous Flowers of the Elegant Twelve Seasons: Tenth Month

the tenth sheet from an album of twelve; a samurai and a maid in an interior parlor beside a stand heaping with red and white kohaku no mochi (rice cakes), their struggle has sent two cakes tumbling to the floor, ca. 1771-73

chuban yoko-e 7 1/4 by 9 7/8 in., 18.5 by 25 cm

The haiku references the ryogetsu (tenth month) at the beginning of the cold season.

Given from the hand
of the master
a fuyu-botan

A fuyu-botan is a peony that blooms in the winter, but it also refers to a kotatsu (heated table). In the tenth month on the day of the boar it was customary to set up the hibachi (charcoal brazier) and the kotatsu, marking the beginning of the cold season. A common household would serve botamochi (peony rice cakes covered with bean paste), while samurai households served kohaku no mochi (red and white rice cakes). In this scene the samurai master of the house (his sword in the foreground), has lured a maid with the promise of cake: "Don't worry, it will be fine," but she protests: "Oh please let me go! The lady will come in." Their struggle has sent two kohaku no mochi tumbling to the floor and her hair has come undone.

Highlights of Japanese Printmaking Part 4: Shunga, Scholten Japanese Art, 2014, cat. no. 17

Inge Klompmakers, Japanese Erotic Prints: Shunga by Harunobu and Koryusai, 2001, pp. 118-119, cat. D.8
Hayakawa Monta and Shirakura Yoshihiko, Shunga: Japanese Erotic Art, 2009; Helsinki City Art Museum website for translations
Gian Carlo Calza, Poem of the Pillow and Other Stories by Utamaro, Hokusai, Kuniyoshi and Other Artists of the Floating World, 2010, p. 187

price: $2,000


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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