Although I dived deep into my shunga library (which lacks very few books on the subject) and also thoroughly researched the internet about the ehon (book) below, I unfortunately could not find much background information about it.
What I was able to find out is that the series is called ‘Shunshoku irifune chô (The Ship of Good Fortune Comes in with the Colors of Spring/aka. Spring Scenery for the Launching of New Ships)‘, that it is signed Ichimyôkai Hodoyoshi ga, a pseudonym used by the artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), and written by the author Ryûtei Tanehiko (Japanese, 1783–1842), and that it was issued c.1837.
There is a reference to a book called Enpon kenkyû Kuniyoshi (1964) written by the eminent shunga expert Yoshikazu Hayashi that is not in my possession yet (if anyone of you can tell me more about this publication please don’t hesitate contacting me!).
I also know ‘Shunshoku irifune chô‘ is considered to be an important work (some of the designs have inspired other artists!) and that it’s part of the collection of several museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts Boston but besides that I couldn’t find anything at this moment.
Anyway, you can find all the erotic pictures from the three volumes below…
http://www.kuniyoshiproject.com/Shunshoku%20irifune%20cho%20(shunga).htm (op Premium zetten)
‘Opening pages of the first volume‘ (c.1837) from the series ‘Shunshoku irifune chô (The Ship of Good Fortune Comes in with the Colors of Spring)‘ by Utagawa Kuniyoshi
‘Geisha standing on the quay watching a departing pleasure boat. A scene that shows Kuniyoshi’s wonderful eye for detail such as in the pose of the geta (Japanese clogs)‘
‘Three geisha on the streets and a laborer carrying a giant pole‘
‘Geisha on a boat underneath a bridge observing the activities on the shore‘
‘Four page fold-out scene below that takes place on the veranda of a restaurant with many interactions between various people‘
‘Sensual encounter between a geisha and client with the first stimulating her private parts to facilitate him. The screen in the background depicts sparrows in flight.‘
‘The depicted protagonists are almost completely “buried” underneath the many richly decorated blankets. The woman is an oiran, a geisha with a lot of prestige (as can be seen from her extensive hairstyle).’
‘Couple making love underneath a kotatsu heater with the male stroking the clitoris of his lover.‘
‘A man lying underneath a giant blanket uses his entire hand to arouse his lover’s private parts.’
‘Probably one of the better known (often copied) designs from the series with the male lover wetting his fingers while the female awaits eagerly.’
‘Image on the right depicts the hand of a male caressing the female vagina from behind. Striking are the added shadow effects that Kuniyoshi copied from the Western copper etchings.‘
‘Geisha strolling along a plum blossom tree‘
‘An intimate couple in the exploration phase before sexual intercourse. On the doors of the cupboard behind them is an image of two deer looking at a flying bat in the sky (*).’
‘Couple preparing for penetration. Striking the playful horses on the screens in the background painted in the sumi-e style and Kuniyoshi’s beloved sleeping white cat with black pots.’
‘A ronin (masterless samurai) penetrates his lover from the rear. She almost seems to want to bury her face in the floor. Is it embarrassment? Or is she so excited? ‘
‘In a rehearsal space for archers two lovers have a secret rendezvous.’
‘Extraordinary close-up design of a vulva.‘
‘A geisha walking through the harbor carrying a black suitcase.’
‘An impulsive encounter on the veranda with the garden in the background.’
‘A playful couple seducing each other during dinner.‘
‘In a room overlooking a lake, a sensuous encounter takes place between a geisha and a client. She is riding his penis sideways.‘
‘A woman has to divide her attention between her restless lover and the attention-seeking cat. The expression of the latter is so striking.’
‘An intimate couple are studying each other’s reactions during sex. On the right a purple kimono is hanging over a screen depicting a winter landscape.‘
‘Close up portrayal of a male hand stimulating a vulva using its index finger and thumb.’
Click HERE for a striking fold-out erotic picture by Kuniyoshi that portrays a secret encounter taking place in a crowded restaurant…!!
*In Japanese culture both the deer and the bat are a symbol of longevity and of good luck. Therefore they are sometimes portrayed together on prints and paintings.
What is your favorite design from this series? Leave your reaction in the comment box below…!!