Chōkyōsai Eiri’s notorious ‘Fumi no Kiyogaki‘ design offers a glimpse through an opened window of an amorous liaison between a Dutchman and a Nagasaki courtesan. Other artists such as Keisai Eisen, Gessai Gabimaru and Kitagawa Utamaro also depicted similar scenes.
For instance, Eisen’s shunga composition in ‘A Picture Book of the Many Beautiful Ways to Mess Up (Ehon midaregami)‘ is an imagined erotic encounter between a Dutch couple.
Smell an Aphrodisiac
The couple speaks to one another in languages neither understands with the woman exclaiming, “Penetrate me, so that I don´t have to wait any longer. I can’t wait any longer!” The man encourages her to smell an aphrodisiac, and in reply says, “I am an attractive man in Holland and so it should be easy for me to make you come.” The man’s words are written upside down, as if to suggest they are a foreign language (apparently Dutch), thus forcing the reader to read the conversation beginning from the lower left.
Click here for a translation of an abuna-e (Risky pictures) design by Eisen that features an uneasy conversation between a courtesan and a confident client
Source: ‘Erotic Japonisme, the Inflluence of Japanese Sexual Imagery on Western Art‘ by Ricard Bru