Striking Shikake-e By Katsukawa Shuncho Depicting Sleeping Maiden Making Love to Demons
18 juli 2017 
3 min. read

Striking Shikake-e By Katsukawa Shuncho Depicting Sleeping Maiden Making Love to Demons

An extra-ordinarily design from the series Ehon Takara bako (A Female Treasure) by Katsukawa Shuncho (act. c. 1780s-early 1800s).  It is an early shikake-e (trick picture) with consecutive images. The right plate features a sleeping maiden whose diabolical dream (left plate!) seems to be incited by an adolescent performing cunnilingus performed on her.

Maiden Dreaming of Attack by DevilsAn adolescent performing cunnilingus

Maiden Dreaming of Attack by Devils‘ (c.1800). From the series: ‘Ehon Takara bako (A Female Treasure)‘ by Katsukawa Shuncho.


As with a lot of ukiyo-e artists, there is no vivid account of Shuncho’s life. He most probably had a quarrel with his teacher Shunsho (1725-1792) around 1784 and found shelter with the artist Kubo Shunman (1757-1820). Shuncho’s style (like Kiyonaga) tends to be gentle, and in his shunga designs he conveys a sense that the women too are taking pleasure in the intimate rendezvous.

An adolescent performing cunnilingus


Shuncho created images of female beauties in the manner of Kiyonaga and Utamaro, as he was fascinated by Kiyonaga’s monumental and majestic figures and by the seductiveness of Utamaro’s work. His chromatic range was quite limited, but rich in half tones, which had the effect of making even his most explicit prints look gentler and more refined.

Demons performing cunnilingus to a woman

The left piece (the one with the demons) is depicted on p.112 (Ill.159) in ‘Strangers in Paradise: the Foreign Image in Japanese Art & Shunga‘ by R. Lane.

Click HERE for Shuncho’s Octopus masterpiece!

About the author
Marijn is the founder of With more than 20 years of experience within the sensual and erotic art of shunga he is an authority in the genre. During this time he served many customers with complementing their art collection.
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