The Blissful Oharame From Kiyonaga's Sode No Maki
23 december 2017 
3 min. read

The Blissful Oharame From Kiyonaga's Sode No Maki

A peasant girl and country lad caught in a moment of sexual bliss. This type of peasant woman is traditionally associated with Ohara, a village north-west Kyoto, and thus the name Oharame (Ohara maiden).


Sensual oharame with country lad‘ (c.1785) from the series ‘Sode no maki (The Sleeve Scroll)‘ by Torii Kiyonaga (1752-1815) – Collection of the British Museum

Oharame were easy identifiable by their distinctive costume of an apron, hand-covers, white leggings and rustic sandals. They are often portrayed carrying bundles of firewood or coal on their heads; this Oharame uses her bundle of coal sticks as a pillow. Her toes are curled in apparent ecstasy.


Meiji iimpression (c.1880s)

Height of Ecstasy

Shunga expert Richard Lane on this design: “…In perhaps the most evocative tableau of the scroll, we view two lovers in a rustic setting, at the height of ecstasy. The girl is an Oharame, a Kyoto peddler of charcoal sticks (which are here seen effectively employed as a pillow). The man is probably not a woodsman; to judge from the crest on his robe, the scene may indeed be intended to hint at the traditionally “ideal” pair – Kyo-onna, Azuma-otoko (Kyoto beauty, Edo gallant). The couple are seen paired in that perfect moment of bliss which approaches very close to Nirvana.


Meiji Painting (c.1880s)

Note: in an alternative, early edition, strong crimson is employed for details such as the cloth over the charcoal. The total effect is quite different – harking back to the vivid coloring of the Harunobu decade. Such variations even in the early impressions probably indicate that alternative printers – with different tastes – worked on the variant printings.

Click HERE for an interesting article (including videos) on the Sode no maki series…!!!

Source: ‘The Complete Ukiyo-e Shunga – Kiyonaga’s Sode No Maki (The Sleeve Scroll) Vol. 24′ by Richard Lane

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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