In this captivating and audacious composition by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806) *, a geisha (female performer) mounts her lover, plucking the shamisen and singing as they make love. He leans back, suppresses a yawn, and makes fun of her.
Surrounding their pillows is a folding screen painted with an ink landscape in Chinese style. The atmosphere is relaxed and intimate.
Translation of the dialogue:
Singing geisha: “A geisha’s lot is not a happy one -/ when she grinds her hips, she loses her fingering / when she starts to come, the string snaps./ Fucking her shamisen and plucking her pussy./ isn’t it a happy, painful, funny, sad, shameful, shameless old life.”
Man: “When she doesn’t cry out as much as she wants to, it’s a sure sign she fancies you. What a sweet pussy, gripping so tight. When she wiggles her arse then what’ll happen to the fella down there.”
Singing Man: “Oh baby! It’s ruining your pretty face!”
Click HERE for more designs from Utamaro’s The Laughing Drinker….!!
Source: ‘Shunga: Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art‘ issued by the British Museum
*Utamaro is a master practitioner of the shunga genre. One of the intriguing features of his The Laughing Drinker series is the preface of the book in which he introduces his “wife” – we do not know if he actually was married – and suggests that she had to finish the work because he is on a trip: ‘…when a couple is as extraordinarily loving as we are, then there is no better conjunction of the male and female principles than for the wife to add the coloring to drawings done by the husband.” (translation Timothy Clark)
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