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A Sambasō Dancer and Lover Rolling Through the Room

A energetic image, which transfers the impression of actually seeing the couple tumbling and rolling through the room.

Sambaso dancer

The man is dressed as a sambasō dancer, perhaps to heighten the sexual tension, Sambasō dances were performed as a prelude to the main plays in Nō and Kabuki theaters, and the dancers were dressed as Okina, or ‘the old man’.

Mask of Okina

When dancing, they wear a mask of Okina, either white with black spots, or black (as in this case) with white spots.

Sambaso dancer and lover by isoda Koryusai

Sambasō dancer and lover‘ (c.1770/71) from an untitled series by Isoda Koryusai

Wooden Lips

As kissing with wooden lips is not as exciting as kissing real ones, the woman holds the mask aside. The dancer’s clothes are often decorated with symbols for longevity and this also applies to the sensual ‘dancer’ in this image.

Crane Motif

He has a crane motif on his kimono, and the clothing hanging loosely over the ikō, or clothes stand is decorated with snow-covered pine trees.

sambasō dancer: close up of the heads

Close up of the heads

Kotsuzumi

Additionally, there is a suzu (bell-stick) on the ground and a kotsuzumi (small drum) hanging from the clothes stand. People on the street can be seen through the opening leading to the corridor.

Click HERE for another striking article on a sambasō dancer “puppet”.

Source: ‘Japanese Erotic Prints: Shunga by Harunobu & Koryusai‘ by Inge Kompmakers

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Darya
By

Darya

on 28 March 2020

Love so much this balanced composition: pines outside rhyme with pine motif on a kimono.

Marijn
By

Marijn

on 28 March 2020

Thanks Darya. Yes, almost always there is a reference to the seasons in shunga somewhere!.

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