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10 september 2017 

Passionate Sex Underneath a Mosquito-net

Katsukawa Shuncho (act.c.1780s-early 1800s) is among the finest ukiyo-e artists of the eighteenth century, and his corpus of work is devoted entirely to pictures of beautiful women (bijinga) and erotica.

Magnum Opus

His style is intimate and gentle, and his portrayal of women and men in shunga give the impression that sex is enjoyed by both parties. Each of he twelve images in Shuncho’s Erotic Prints for the Twelve Months represents one of the twelve months. This series can be considered a magnum opus among his shunga.

Cloud-Shaped

Every print has a stylized cloud-shaped border along the top. Interior architectural elements are used extensively in the designs, often juxtaposing the direction of the suggested movement of the couples.

Commericial Success

The reworking of blocks and the differences in printing quality imply that the edition was probably rather substantial. This is a clear indication that the series was a significant financial success.

The following print is a striking exmple of Shuncho’s genius…

Shuncho shunga - mosquito-netting

A passionate couple underneath a mosquito net‘ (c.1788) from the series ‘Erotic Prints For the Twelve Months (Koshoku zue juniko)‘ by Katsukawa Shuncho

Tanzaku Paper

During a sultry afternoon, overwhelmed by the heat, a desirous couple has partly left the mosquito-netting because of the warm weather. Through the latticed window we can see bamboo decorations and tanzaku* papers that are connected with the Tanabata Festival and therefore link this image with the seventh month.

The following video includes other appealing shunga designs portraying mosquito-netting:

Click HERE for other interesting articles on Shuncho!

HERE you can find an amusing design by Utamaro featuring a mosquito-net!

 

*Tanzaku are small pieces of colored paper with poetic wishes

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