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The Powerful Sensuality as Depicted in The Adonis Plant

This is plate 2 from Hokusai‘s monumental ‘The Adonis Plant (Fukujuso)‘ series (c.1810s) and features a straightforward shunga image of two passionate young lovers effecting an encounter only with the greatest difficulty. This, because the girl is a popular geisha, not a freelancer.

the adonis plant

Fig.1. ‘Young geisha and lover‘ (late c.1810s) from the series ‘The Adonis Plant (Fukujuso)

Powerful

The couple are completely united, their body and soul, and the whole area of the image is suffused with their presence. The “nervous line” of Hokusai’s kimono depiction rises to its peak just at this period, and this is surely one of the most powerful prints in the set.

Less Tight

It reminds us, indeed, of a similar scene in Hokusai’s major picture-book of a slightly later period Manpuku wagojin, that features, however, a less dramatic, less “tight” composition (Fig.3.)

the adonis plant

Fig.2. Meiji painting inspired on Hokusai’s design

the adonis plant

Fig.3. ‘Tight embrace‘ (c.1821) from the series ‘Manpuku wagojin (Gods of Intercourse)

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What is your favorite shunga series by Hokusai?

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