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Discover These Three Varying Impressions of Kunisada's Famous Rain Scene

Nowadays one of Kunisada‘s most admired works Shunka Shuto shiki no nagame (Spring, Summer, Autum and Winter: Prospects for the Four Seasons) is a superbly printed production, and because of the high costs involved it was most probably commissioned by a wealthy merchant.

rain ukiyo-e

Fig.1. ‘Geisha and client on a balcony in the rain‘ (c.1827-29) from the series ‘Shunka Shuto shiki no nagame (Spring, Summer, Autum and Winter: Prospects for the Four Seasons)‘ by Utagawa Kunisada

With and Without Rain

Because of its popularity, this book series was issued several times between 1827-29, and therefore several deviating impressions were produced with varying accents and color pigments. An excellent example of this is the famous scene depicted below, with one impression displaying the rain and an earlier one (first impression) without. It would be interesting to know if Kunisada opted these variations or that it was the decision of the printer.

Thunderstorm

In summer a geisha and her lover are enjoying an assignation in the upper floor of a tea-house. Attracted, and perhaps aroused, by the power of the thunderstorm outside, they have moved on to the balcony to enjoy passionate love-making.

rain ukiyo-e

Fig.2. First impression without rain (c.1827)

Intent Gaze

He grabs her tightly around the waist, and although his face is almost hidden, sexual desire can be read clearly in his intent gaze. A powerful dynamic is created by the criss-crossing vertical and diagonal lines of the composition.

rain ukiyo-e

Fig.3. Later impression with the scene taking place at night (Source: ‘Сюнга. Откровенное искусство Японии / Shunga. Explicit art of Japan‘, 2016. Authors: A. E. Pushakova, K. G. Danelya)

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Both impressions are available in our gallery shop. You can find them by clicking any of the above images..!!

Which of the three impressions do you prefer?

About the author
Marijn is the founder of shungagallery.com. With more then 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.
Darya
By

Darya

on 5 February 2020

I like "rainy" version, it reminds me of shunga with mosquito-net. The rain creates here special atmosphere of intimacy, I suppose. However, both pictures are amazing and the second one has brighter colors.

Marijn
By

Marijn

on 8 February 2020

Thanks a lot for your feedback an explanation Darya!

Darya
By

Darya

on 24 February 2020

I've discovered also a version without rain, which is printed in darker colors and has a black stripe on top, so it looks more like this scene takes place at night.

Marijn
By

Marijn

on 24 February 2020

Thanks Darya, do you have a picture of this impression by any chance?

Darya
By

Darya

on 24 February 2020

Sure! I'll send a scan to your email.

Marijn
By

Marijn

on 25 February 2020

Thanks again Darya. I have included this other impression above!

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