Senju's Sensual Obsession With the Japanese Fox Spirit
One of the most recurring themes in the shunga art of Senju Shunga (1968) is probably the kitsune (fox spirit) phenomena. In this article the artist will go deep into his ideas and motives behind a work from 2016 that not only examines the mysteries of the kitsune theme but also introduces us for the first time to an attractive, long-haired girl with a large back tattoo seductively looking at us
Without further ado, let's let the artist do the talking...
"In Japanese lore and myth kitsune (Fig.1), the fox, holds a prominent place. Sometimes revered, at other times feared, it has been the centre of an ongoing cult since at least the 6th century.
It is regarded as mysterious animal with supernatural powers of which the ability to shape shift is among the most well known. It is said that the kitsune can live well beyond a thousand years and already at the age of one hundred it can assume the shape of a seductive woman.
Fig.1. Kitsune (2016)
There are many stories of men meeting foxes in female disguise. Some of these tales tell of foxes maliciously fooling a man into despair and ruin while others are of a romantic nature, focusing of love transcending the barriers of superstition and norm thinking.
This painting presents a fox in the disguise of a young woman and can be regarded as an inquiry as to who is really the one that decides what we see when looking at something. A kitsune can assume any alluring shape but the feat would be pointless unless we ourselves accept this illusion. So with whom lies the power to enchant, to play tricks or illusion?
Our comprehension of everything around us dresses itself in our experiences combined with learned behavior. It is like that question all children inevitably ask themselves and others: when we look at a certain color do we really see the same thing? Is my blue your blue? The fox most likely assumes the shape your innermost desires wishes for.
Art of Deception
In that phenomena lies also the truth about beauty and about love. That it is all your own magic and becomes true only when the preconceived notion of reality is reconstructed. A kitsune cannot deceive the one that does not want to and if that is true is the art of deception really at play.
In order for the magic of the erotic to truly work you should try not to let the foolishness of norm blur your vision. The one rule is to not hurt yourself or others. Beyond this your desire fro pleasure is your best guide and leading light. If you try to experience the moment fully you will be endowed with the powers of the kitsune. You will be able to cast spells and weave the most beautiful brocade.
Start of Fearlessness
The erotic and the sensual is so much more than the pleasures of the flesh. It is everything that surrounds you. The full taste of a beautiful red wine, the touch of silk against skin, the scent of fragrant incense in a Kyoto temple, the sound of rain against your bedroom window or the serenity found in watching your loved one sleeping. Let foreplay extend into all and every part of your daily life. Let the notion that we are all going to die someday be the start of fearlessness."
In the Premium edition you can explore 4 other works by Senju featuring this enigmatic "kitsune" girl in various stages of shape shifting.
Source: Kagami -Contemporary Shunga by Senju Shunga