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BDSM Art or Shunga?

Recently we obtained this charming album consisting of 13 arresting paintings including 5 that are clearly reminiscent of bondage art.

BDSM Art

With the help of a client of us who is a collector of shibari /BDSM* art and very knowledgeable on this subject we examined its origins. (You can check out his observations at the end of this article).

Grim Images

The first thing you notice when browsing through the album is that there is clearly a buildup from the innocent images in the beginning to the more grim images in the second part. The discreet paintings earlier in the album lack private parts and even the faces of the protagonists are often hidden from the viewer. The tone changes after the seventh image (Fig.11) that shows three explicit close-ups of sexual intercourse.

Appalling Dutch Nobleman

The consecutive piece (Fig.13) presents an “exotic” encounter between what seems to be a Dutch nobleman and a reluctant white female. She fiercely opposes his advances by pushing him away. Her left hand clasps his nose and mouth while her eyes betray a great disgust for his physical appearance. His striking haircut and the visibility of his plump thigh give this scene a compelling mix of humor and horror.

Anguish

The proficient artist shows a lot of attention to details particularly in the faces. The ecstasy of the females in the first part, and their anguish in the second part is very well struck.

Euphoric Posture

A good example of this is the realistic representation of the female protagonist in Fig.9. Her euphoric posture is emphasized by her fully extended arms and delighted facial expression. It is these kind of details that draw you into the sensual spectacle.

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Fig.1.

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Fig.2.

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Fig.3.

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Fig.4.

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Fig.5.

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Fig.6.

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Fig.7.

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Fig.8.

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Fig.9.

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Fig.10.

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Fig.11.

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Fig.12.

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Fig.13.

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Fig.14.

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Fig.15.

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Fig.16.

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Fig.17.

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Fig.18.

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Fig.19.

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Fig.20.

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Fig.21.

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Fig.22.

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Fig.23.

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Fig.24

The views of the BDSM expert:

I agree with you that this album probably dates from 1900 to 1940 BUT it could be as late as the 1960s. The paintings are definitely NOT by Seiu Itoh but could be a contemporary. I say this because of several “clues” in the pictures. For instance, the over the nose gag look is usually a prior to the 1970’s detail.

The artist is very talented and it’s interesting to me that the men are as delicately drawn as the women in these pictures. I think it’s also significant that the poses are so reminiscent of Eisen Tomioka.

1.) I think this artist is a shunga artist and not a BDSM specialist. I say this because he certainly is NOT a recognizable BDSM illustrator (I’m familiar with most of them) and he’s doing mostly classical shunga.

His “bondage” is very simple and not the focus of his compositions and he is copying details from other (some important and some fairly minor) magazine artists who worked for SM magazines like Kitan Club, etc, As an example, I attach a detail from a picture (Fig.25) by a BDSM artist named T. Kitahara.

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Fig.25.

Note how the woman’s expression is almost EXACTLY the same as in one of your illustrations (see Fig.19. and 20). However, your artist is much more delicate (even feminine) compared to Kitahara.

2.) I think the date of the album is 1960 or before.

3.) I think the artist is quite talented but might be an unknown or one of the many, fairly anonymous, magazine illustrators that moonlighted doing shunga.

4.) The album is very nice and suggests it might have been a private commission.

Available

This album is available for sale. If you have any inquiries please don’t hesitate contacting us by clicking HERE…!!

Click HERE for more sensual shibari art…!!

* BDSM = Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism

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