A Bewitching Depiction of the Strong Longing of a Sensual Ghost
05 mei 2019 
2 min. read

A Bewitching Depiction of the Strong Longing of a Sensual Ghost

During a humid summer night a man has taken off all his clothes while sleeping naked underneath a mosquito-net. Squatting next to him holding his erected member in her hand is the smirking appearance of a female ghost.

Sensual female ghost stroking a sleeping man's private parts

Scroll painting ‘Sensual ghost stroking a sleeping man’s private parts‘ (early 1800s) – ‘Erotic Ghost Paintings (Shunga yurei zu)‘ attributed to Katsukawa Shun’ei (Michael Fornitz collection)

Thin Face

She wears just a transparent white jinbei* and her long tousled hair dances eerily in the breeze across her thin tormented face. The man seems to be contorting under the spell of a nightmare as he stretches one arm outside the net, as if to seek help.

Sensual Ghost

The sensual ghost’s sense of longing is so strong that she has managed to enter the mosquito-net which should have formed a barrier between him and the spirit world.

Close up of a sensual female ghost

Detail ghost

Katsukawa Shun’ei

This work is part of a pair of hanging-scroll paintings featuring two scenes attributed to Katsukawa Shun’ei** (1762-1819). It was made available by the Danish collector Michael Fornitz and displayed at the major shunga exhibition held by the British Museum in 2013.

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*jinbei is a piece of nightwear or home wear
**There are only a small number of erotic pieces known by the hand of Shun’ei. These are often bizarre and outlandish. In his erotic book Ominameshi (Maiden Flower) issued in 1789, for example, there is an image of copulating foxes and an eccentric scene of a fisherman making love to a stingray.

Source: ‘Shunga – Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art‘ published by the British Museum

About the author
Marijn is the founder of shungagallery.com. 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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