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Shunga Statue of Keisai Eisen's
4 September 2020 

Shunga Statue of Keisai Eisen's "Harbor" Scene by Joscha Bender

A couple of years ago, we sold this lovely Keisai Eisen piece that depicts an intimate couple at a quay in the harbor. The print comes from Eisen’s series ‘Konote gashiwa (Two Aspects of Love/ Child’s-hand Oak)‘, issued around 1836. The client was the German artist Joscha Bender who is both a sculptor and a shunga fan. Over the years, he became increasingly intrigued by the design that it eventually resulted in a beautiful statue of the passionate couple.

I asked the artist about his motivation and this was his reply:

“I bought the “Harbor” Scene by Eisen out of two reasons. First the content displays a desire of mine. I made my sailing license at that time and as we have a wonderful view on the ocean with some boats in the background i could easily imagine myself being at that harbor.

Eisen’s Thoughts

Secondly, I saw some strong sculptural qualities in the image of the couple in the foreground. I framed the piece and after two years on my wall and with every glance at it, it unleashed the idea to follow Eisen’s thoughts more and more. Not only by following the lines and the patterns.

Free Lines

Of course one attraction of shunga is how artistic the couples are put together and how free the lines are drawn. It’s fascinating and questionable how logic those positions are and how that would look in real life or at least in three dimensions.

Sculptural Solution

So it was the next logical step for me to study that in three dimensions and not only by looking at it. I wanted to know if there could be a logical sculptural solution. Especially in the Harbor scene, the crumbled clothes and the united bunch of two i saw the chance to follow Eisen.

Confusing Knot

During working I somehow had the feeling Eisen truly must have thought this piece in three dimensions, cause it has a strictly harmonic logic- even if there’s that confusing knot of body parts and clothes.”
Keisai EIsen art

Passionate couple in the harbor‘ (c.1836) from the series ‘Konote gashiwa (Two Aspects of Love/ Child’s-hand Oak)‘ by Keisai Eisen

The size of the statue is ca. 15 3/4″ x 7 4/5″ x 7 4/5″ inches.

shunga statue

shunga statue

Click HERE for an earlier article that examines the first purchase of the artist from us, and also shows a picture of the above Eisen piece hanging on his wall…!!

Let us know what you think about the statue in the comment box below…!!

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.
JB
By

JB

on 4 September 2020

Nice derivative of a superb Shunga piece. An oversized netsuke of sorts? Made me think that the Shunga Gallery would benefit from some articles on erotic netsukes and their parallels with Shunga. I am not aware of any book dedicated specifically to erotic/a netsukes but if anyone is aware of such a publication, I'd very much appreciate it if you could share it here.

Marijn
By

Marijn

on 4 September 2020

Thanks a lot for the suggestion JB. Actually, I have been working on an article on this theme (we have had a substantial amount of shunga netsukes in our collection) that has been "laying around" that I still have to finish. Anyway, I will definitely pay attention to it in the future! As far as I know there are no specific books on this topic yet!

Darya
By

Darya

on 4 September 2020

Nice work! Eisen's piece is very sculptural indeed.

Marijn
By

Marijn

on 4 September 2020

Thanks Darya. Yes, the couple almost seems to float in the air. I assume this is something a sculptor will quickly notice.

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