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Tug of War With a Rope in an Allegorical Love Struggle

The protagonists in the shunga designs below are all engaged in an erotic variation on the neck Tug-of-war (Kubi-hiki). Instead of the traditional neck pulling with the rope attached behind the neck of each of the opponents here the “confident” male has replaced the neck by his member. These images represent the two lovers playing with a rope in an allegorical love struggle.

tug rope

Penis pulling with rope’ (c.1788) by Katsukawa Shuncho (act. ca. 1783-1795)

tug rope

Phallus celebration’ (c.18 ) by Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865)

tug rope

Tug of war‘ (c.1855) from the series ‘Shunkyo karami-dako (Spring Games: Grappling Octopus)‘  attributed to Kunisada II (1823-1880)

tug rope

Asahina Yoshihide in a tug-of-war with the little people’ (c.1839) by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861)

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