arrow_drop_up arrow_drop_down
29 November 2016 

Tomioka Eisen And His Two Solo Masturbating Women

We have added a shunga piece to our collection from the well-known Meiji artist Tomioka Eisen (1864-1905) featuring a solo girl giving herself sexual pleasure while reading a book (Fig.1.).

A young woman is masturbating sitting against the wall

Fig.1. ‘Masturbating Womann’ (c.1897-1899) from the series ‘Yakumo no chigiri (Poetic Interlude)’ by Tomioka Eisen (Available in our gallery for Euro 650,-)

Act of Masturbation

The print is a preface page of the concertina album Yakumo no chigiri (Poetic Interlude), a twelve-sheet, aiban formatted work dating to around 1897-1899. He was most probably assisted by his pupil Hamada Josen (1875-?).

It represents a young woman absorbed in the act of masturbation. The representation does accentuate a pornographic sense with the woman gently stroking her vagina.

There is an earlier (better known) expurgated impression (Fig.2.) of this design which depicts the woman in a more suggested pose. Here her gesture is only intuited by the languid pose and by the pleasurable expression on her face.

A young woman is masturbating sitting against a screen

Fig.2. Purified earlier version of Tomioka Eisen’s ‘Masturbating Woman‘ design (Picture from Japprent.nl)

Allusive Eroticism

Although at a distance of almost a century and with a style and a poetic language by now quite old, we are therefore in front of a trial of subtle and allusive eroticism for certain verses similar to that of Utamaro, and the fact that Eisen still looks at this master is proven by the shunga of the sixth sheet of this album: a direct reprise of a print of the Komachi biki  series by Utamaro.

Close up of a young woman masturbating

Excerpt of Fig.2. (Picture from Japprent.nl)

The later impression is the rarer version of the two, it’s seldomly seen. It’s a commercial edition that includes two crowd-pleasing aspects, the explicit depiction of the female private parts and Mount Fuji on the screen.

Dildo

Eisen’s competitor Ikeda Terukata (1883-1921) also designed a memorable image featuring a single woman masturbating, in this case with a tortoise-shell harigata (dildo) while looking at a shunga book (Fig.3).

Both Eisen’s en Terukata’s albums are characteristic of shunga from the Meiji era: the printing is exquisite, with a generous use of metallic pigments and bokashi (tonal gradation) to expresss the lovely quality of the kimono’s. The contour lines are equally refined.

A print of a masturbating woman using a dildo

Fig.3. ‘Masturbating woman with dildo‘ (c.1900-5) from an untitled series by Ikeda Terukata

You can purchase the explicit version of Tomioka Eisen design in our shunga gallery. Remember when you snooze, you lose!

The following video features more excited women entertaining themselves:

Mijn film (Solo Women)

Which of the two designs, the explicit or the more discreet Eisen image of the single woman, do you prefer?

About the author
Marijn is the founder of shungagallery.com. With more then 20 years of experience within the sensual and erotic art of shunga he is an authority in the genre. During this time he served many customers with complementing their art collection.
Place comment

Did you get a copy of our eBook already?

We use cookies