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If Takeuchi Seiho Had Produced Shunga They Would Have Looked Like This

Today we’ll examine a Japanese erotic scroll that consists of 5 hand paintings on silk. It was created during the Meiji era and displays an outstanding artistic quality. As shunga were seen as pornography and therefore strictly prohibited in this era (and after) they are not signed.

Calves and Knuckles

What immediately stands out is the unique style of figure painting. Particularly, the hands and feet are drawn in a distinctive expressive style. But also, the attention to detail of the facial areas and the depiction of the muscles (especially the calves and the knuckles) are really striking.

Takeuchi Seiho

The same applies to the landscapes in the background which are also of extraordinary quality. They match with the style and characteristics of Takeuchi Seiho‘s works*. Although of the latter (as far as I know) no erotic work is known.

Each painting measures around 13 3/4″ x  16 1/2″ inches.

Takeuchi Seiho: nude female sitting on the lap of her lover

Fig.1.

Windowsill

In the living room we see a couple engaged in the “Lazy man” pose with the female sitting on her partner’s lap (Fig.1). She is straddling his waist while he leans against the windowsill with a pillow behind his back. An amusing detail is how the woman rubs one of her breasts along his ear (Fig.1b).

Takeuchi Seiho: nude female sitting on the lap of her lover with one of her breasts rubbing his ear

Fig.1b.

Takeuchi Seiho: painting with an intimate couple having an impulsive encounter on a dresser

Fig.2.

On the Dresser

An impulsive rendezvous (Fig.2) with the male lifting his attractive female lover on the dresser while penetrating her.

Takeuchi Seiho: close up painting with an intimate couple having an impulsive encounter on a dresser

Fig.2b.

Takeuchi Seiho: candid intimate encounter in the rice field

Fig.3.

Cap

Among the rice straws, a chubby peasant girl is having a secret intimate affair with a lover wearing a cap (Fig.3).

Takeuchi Seiho: detail of a chubby girl and secret lover in a rice field

Fig.3b.

Takeuchi Seiho: sensual couple with loosened mosquito-netting

Fig.4.

Untameable

During a hot summer day an aroused couple is completely absorbed in their sensuality (Fig.4). The loosened mosquito-net emphasizes their untameable passion.

Fig.4b.

Takeuchi Seiho: shunga painting depicting a mature female and young lover

Fig.5.

Inner Sensations

Older mature lady with younger lover in the “Champagne room” pose** (Fig.5). The attention to detail is superb; the hand (and feet) gestures are aptly displayed and tell us about her inner sensations.

Takeuchi Seiho: shunga painting

Fig.5b.

Click HERE for more realistic sensuality in a similar style….!!

*Takeuchi Seiho (1864-1942) was a leading Shijō school painter in Kyōto. He was one of the founders of the nihonga genre that originates from about 1900 onwards, that fuses the traditional Japanese artistic conventions with the realistic Western painting style. Seiho visited the famous Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900, and traveled around Europe, where he studied Western art. An important influence was the English Romantic painter William Turner. Seiho’s favorite subjects were animals – often in funny poses, such as a monkey riding on a horse. He was also famous for his landscapes.

Takeuchi Seiho: Bear in snow

Woodblock print ‘Bear in snow‘ (1940) by Takeuchi Seiho

Takeuchi Seiho: Mouse and top hat

Woodblock print ‘Mouse and top hat‘ (1937)

** term invented by Women’s Health magazine

Are you a fan of this more naturalistic style of painting or do you prefer the understated traditional style? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below…!!

About the author
Darya

By

Darya

on 6 March 2020

Fig. 2 - Does she wear a ring on her finger? I've never seen this before.

Marijn

By

Marijn

on 6 March 2020

Yes, that's indeed a Western-style ring that became popular during and after the Meiji restoration.

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