Isoda Koryusai

fl. ca. 1764-1789

Prosperous Flowers of the Fashionable Twelve Months
(Furyu juni no eiga)

chuban orihon (folded album) with dark blue covers (title slip missing); with ten sheets from the series of twelve depicting a variety of erotic encounters, each presented in relation to the months according to the lunar calendar and with haiku poem and dialogue, ca. 1771-73

chuban 8 3/8 by 5 1/2 in., 21.2 by 14 cm (folded)

The compositions in this Koryusai album are based on Suzuki Harunobu's three volume shunga ehon, Imayo tsuma kagami (Mirror of Wives of Today, ca. 1771), a posthumously published book which juxtaposes erotic scenes with poems from the early 11th-century anthology, Wakan roei shu (Japanese and Chinese Poems to Sing) in which Chinese verses are paired with Japanese waka (31 syllable poems) and organized according to the seasons (for an illustration of a composition in the Harunobu book which corresponds to month six see Calza, p. 174). The interplay between the compositions, dialogues and poems in this series have subtle double entendre and literary allusions that are not easy to discern. It is the classic paradigm of ukiyo-e, the floating world as compared to nature.

Klompmakers, Japanese Erotic Prints, 2001, pp. 105-123
Uhlenbeck and Winkel, Japanese Erotic Fantasies, pp. 106-107, nos. 26a & 26b (5th and 8th months)
Calza, Poem of the Pillow and Other Stories, 2010, pp. 178-190
Highlights of Japanese Printmaking Part 4: Shunga, Scholten Japanese Art, 2014, cat. no. 16

Richard Lane and Hayashi Yoshikazu (eds.), The Complete Ukiyo-e Shunga, no. 3, Twelve Bouts for Eros: Koryusai's Shikido tokkumi Shunga Album, 1996, p.7 (spurious Harunobu variant of month twelve)
Hayakawa Monta, Forbidden Images- Erotic Art from Japan's Edo Period, Helsinki City Art Museum (website for dialogue translations), 2002
Allen Hockley, The Prints of Isoda Koryusai, 2003, p. 285
Shirakura Yoshihiko, Eiri shunga ehon mokuroku, 2007, p. 158
Hayakawa Monta and Shirakura Yoshihiko, Shunga: Japanese Erotic Art, 2009, no. 3, 54, 129 (months 2, 5, 9)
Gian Carlo Calza, Poem of the Pillow and Other Stories, 2010, pp. 174, 178-191
David Waterhouse, The Harunobu Decade, 2013, no. 31 & 32
The British Museum, www.britishmuseum.org, no. 1972,0724,0.6 (ex. collection John Singer Sargent)

price: $36,000


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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