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 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.
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.)
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What is your favorite shunga series by Hokusai?