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10 augustus 2018 

The Passionate Dialogue Between Two Adulterous Lovers

Shuncho had a preference for this type of setting in which the male and female protagonist caress each other’s genitals while still wearing their clothing.

According to Hayashi (1976) this design comes from an album of twelve prints by Katsukawa Shuncho (act. c. 1783 to 1795), from the beginning of the Kansei era (c.1790).

The tableaux shows an adulterous lovers’ rendezvous between a youthful male, a servant in a merchant’s house, and a young unmarried female. Wearing a kimono decorated with motifs from the Tale of Genji (Genji mon) that allude to the various chapters in this book, she has received offers from suitors of her own social class but, even so, is prepared to reject them and sacrifice herself for her lover.

attributing shunga

The Merchant’s Daughter and a Young Servant‘ (c.1790) attributed to Katsukawa Shuncho (Print is housed in the Lyon Collection)

The dialogue is as follows:

Man: “I wish it always like this and we could be together without having to part immediately after. I wish I could run away with you somewhere!”

Woman: “A man recently asked for my hand in marriage, but I won’t accept. If they make me, I’ll kill myself!”

Man:”If what you say is true, if someone wants to marry you and you accept, I’ll kill myself and my ghost will haunt you!”*

This is one of the favorite shunga designs of the Swedish modern shunga artist Senju Shunga. In the following video he shares his thoughts and insights (Swedish with English subtitles)…

Click HERE for more interesting articles on the work of Katsukawa Shuncho…!!!

*’Secret Images – Picasso and the Japanese Erotic Print‘ by Thames & Hudson

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Darya
By

Darya

on 12 February 2020

Their wearings are simple, but still memorable due to the colors and texture. I love man's striped kimono and also love their pose expressing their devotion.

Marijn
By

Marijn

on 12 February 2020

Thanks again for your enthusiasm Darya!

Darya
By

Darya

on 19 February 2020

It seems this shunga resembles a picture of the same time by Kitagawa Utamaro or reflects it like a mirror, because characters are depicted in an opposite way.

Marijn
By

Marijn

on 19 February 2020

Thanks Darya, I guess you mean this https://www.scholten-japanese-art.com/x-shun11.php" rel="nofollow">one? Shunchō is a rather (unjustly) obscure artist who inspired (and was inspired by) Utamaro. Tom Evans is one of the few ukiyo-e (shunga) experts who emphasized Shunchō's importance. In his '' Shunga, the Art of Love in Japan' he says 'Shunchō's unique talent can be summarized as the ability to depict feelings of physical passion with the grace of a lyric poet.'

Darya
By

Darya

on 20 February 2020

Thank you for the link! I'll send to you the piece I mention.

Marijn
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