Shunga Statue of Keisai Eisen’s “Harbor” Scene by Joscha Bender
Marijn Kruijff
3 min

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

3 min

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…!!