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).
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.
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.
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