In the Edo period, one of the driving forces of the economy was the rice production. Rice planting happened (and still happens) in the spring, cultivation in the summer, and harvest in the fall. The Japanese style of rice-growing adjusts its range of procedures according to the flow of the seasons. Rice yields were also a measurement of a lord’s wealth.
As is well known, ukiyo-e (lit. ‘Floating world) and shunga art in particular, are also strongly linked to the seasons (hence its literal translation ‘Spring picture’), and for that reason it was an emphatic part of its imagery.
Below you can check out images that are a fusion of the seasons, rice production and libidinous adventures. They all refer to the rice harvesting and therefore take place during the fall…
During the harvesting of the rice a farmer is having intercourse with a female companion. This painting is inspired by a Keisai Eisen (1790-1848) design entitled ‘Snows of Sano (Sano no yuki)’ from the series ‘A Light Spring Snow (Haru no usuyuki)’ which was issued in 1822. That image features a couple in the snow.
A light-hearted scene between two young sensual labourers with de inserting image showing their prior flirtatious behavior. The sickles are a striking detail.
During a windy autumn afternoon while the woman leans over a straw. The scarecrow standing in the rice field behind them is an amusing detail.
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