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Tea house and the male color - 茶屋の二階の男色, From the series: The Amorous Adventures of Mane'emon, Shunga Ukiyo-e woodblock print.

Tea house and the male color - 茶屋の二階の男色, From the series: The Amorous Adventures of Mane'emon, Shunga Ukiyo-e woodblock print.

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Overview

  • Handmade item
  • Material: Acid Free Fine Art Paper
  • Favorited by: 2 people
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Description

(all artworks are sold without the "Calliope's Bucket" stamp)

Woodblock prints have been restored as closely as possible to their intended colors and appearance, with extensive research into the original pigments. Seams from folding and scuffs have also been removed. The print you are viewing is as close to a fresh print as possible, in the spirit of the Ukiyo-e tradition.

Many of these prints were produced for ephemeral purposes, as advertisements for Kabuki plays, or as political satire, they were also often used as household artworks. The meaning of Ukiyo-e, "Pictures of the Floating World" reflects this ephemerality. Most Ukiyo-e prints are between 100 and 250 years old and the printing blocks have often been lost. Due to the nature of the production process, and the frequent recarving of printing blocks, there is no original in the sense of western artworks, Ukiyo-e prints were printed tens to hundreds of times.

Shunga (春画) is a Japanese term for erotic art. Most shunga are a type of ukiyo-e, usually executed in woodblock print format. Translated literally, the Japanese word shunga means picture of spring; "spring" is a common euphemism for sex.

While the literal meaning of the word "shunga" is significant, it is in fact a contraction of shunkyū-higi-ga (春宮秘戯画), the Japanese pronunciation for Chinese sets of twelve scrolls depicting the twelve sexual acts that the crown prince had to carry out as an expression of yin yang.

The ukiyo-e movement as a whole sought to express an idealisation of contemporary urban life and appeal to the new chōnin class. Following the aesthetics of everyday life, Edo period shunga varied widely in its depictions of sexuality. As a subset of ukiyo-e it was enjoyed by all social groups in the Edo period, despite being out of favour with the shogunate. Almost all ukiyo-e artists made shunga at some point in their careers.

In almost all shunga the characters are fully clothed. This is primarily because nudity was not inherently erotic in Tokugawa Japan, because people were used to seeing one another naked in communal baths. It also served an artistic purpose; it helped the reader identify courtesans and foreigners, the prints often contained symbolic meaning.

Shunga couples are often shown in nonrealistic positions with exaggerated genitalia. Explanations for this include increased visibility of the sexually explicit content, artistic interest and psychological impact: that is, the genitalia is interpreted as a 'second face,' expressing the primal passions that the everyday face is obligated to conceal, and is therefore the same size as the head and placed unnaturally close to it by the awkward position.

This obligation to prioritize the duties that contribute to social cohesion, which often supercede individual passions or feeling, is known as "giri" (義理), and the tension between social obligations and individual longings, whether these be sexual or relating to many other aspects of interpersonal connection, is a common theme of Edo period Japanese literature, drama, and visual art. The individual emotion to which giri is placed in opposition is known as ninjo (人情), and shunga expresses the conflict in particulary stark terms, although its separation of sexual desire from other forms of difficult human feeling coming up against social duty is in some ways less societally disruptive than other examples, as most shunga focuses on sexual activity considered in isolation, and in caricatured form.

Suzuki Harunobu (鈴木 春信 - c. 1725 – 15 July 1770) was a Japanese designer of woodblock print artist in the Ukiyo-e style. He was an innovator, the first to produce full-color prints (nishiki-e) in 1765, rendering obsolete the former modes of two- and three-color prints. Harunobu used many special techniques, and depicted a wide variety of subjects, from classical poems to contemporary beauties. Like many artists of his day, Harunobu also produced a number of shunga, or erotic images. During his lifetime and shortly afterwards, many artists imitated his style. A few, such as Harushige, even boasted of their ability to forge the work of the great master. Much about Harunobu's life is unknown.


Tea house and the male color - Chaya no ni-kai no danshoku (茶屋の二階の男色)
From the series: The Amorous Adventures of Mane'emon
Furyu enshoku Mane'emon - 風流艶色真似ゑもん

The story of Mane'emon: A native of Edo who has enjoyed sex all his life, vows to study the ‘way of love’ more deeply, and makes a pilgrimage to a shrine and prays to the god of love. The ‘love protection’ deity appears and the man receives a strange potion which he is told will fulfil all his desires. The strange potion consists of ‘mud dumplings’ (tsuchi dango), which cause his body to shrink to the size of a bean, and a miraculous medicine which ensures that he will never age or die. He eats the dumplings straight away, shrinks down to bean-size, and sets out on a voyage of adventure around various provinces, using the name Mane’emon. The main narrative is a description of the various sexual customs that Mane’emon witnesses in the places he visits. Across the top of each picture is the story and an erotic senryu (comic haiku) verses. Around the figures are conversations between the protagonists and Mane’emon’s commentaries on the proceedings. Viewing the pictures alongside these explanations and conversations gives us an extremely clear understanding of the context of each shunga print. Mane'emon is seen in each print as a tiny man observing the scenes.

A young female Kabuki role actor (onnagata - 女方) and his client making love at a tea-house near a kabuki theater, as Mane'emon holding a kite watches them. The stylized chrysanthemum pattern on the mattress is often used in male to male shunga prints.

In Edo period Japan, a man could take a younger male lover if he chose. At a tea house near a Kabuki theater, a young Kabuki female role specialists (onnagata) stimulates himself as he mounts his client. The narcissi on his robe are a symbol of male love. Mane'emon comments, "'Good heavens, the method of having male sex involves some elaborate armwork."

Inscriptions:
まねえもん 五 まねへもん やりくり島にて夫婦<みやうと>のいざこざゆへ 其家をそふ/\宵だちにして ふきやがはま さかいしまへ渡り けん酒めりやすの声をまくらとして 其夜はとあるいへいに夢を結び 何とそ二かいのてい とこの頼しみを見んと思ふ 折ふし春の末なれば いかのぼりの糸めに取附物干に下り こと/\くやうすを見て喜悦の思ひをなしけるが あまりのさわぎにとりのぼせ それより湯治ながら在辺へおもむく

「けふはきついふうらい山人と云身た 座しきはとんだおもしろ事 いやはやとこはいかぬ事の どふりてかつは先生も木曽ぢをやめて 南ン品ンとでられた」「ヲゝ うでがだるふてしんどふなつた」


Approximate image sizes:

9" x 13" fine art paper - image size 7" x 9"
11" x 14" fine art paper - image size 8.8" x 11.5"
13" x 19" fine art paper - image size 11" x 14.2"
(all artworks are sold without the "Calliope's Bucket" stamp)

Woodblock prints have been restored as closely as possible to their intended colors and appearance, with extensive research into the original pigments. Seams from folding and scuffs have also been removed. The print you are viewing is as close to a fresh print as possible, in the spirit of the Ukiyo-e tradition.

Many of these prints were produced for ephemeral purposes, as advertisements for Kabuki plays, or as political satire, they were also often used as household artworks. The meaning of Ukiyo-e, "Pictures of the Floating World" reflects this ephemerality. Most Ukiyo-e prints are between 100 and 250 years old and the printing blocks have often been lost. Due to the nature of the production process, and the frequent recarving of printing blocks, there is no original in the sense of western artworks, Ukiyo-e prints were printed tens to hundreds of times.

Shunga (春画) is a Japanese term for erotic art. Most shunga are a type of ukiyo-e, usually executed in woodblock print format. Translated literally, the Japanese word shunga means picture of spring; "spring" is a common euphemism for sex.

While the literal meaning of the word "shunga" is significant, it is in fact a contraction of shunkyū-higi-ga (春宮秘戯画), the Japanese pronunciation for Chinese sets of twelve scrolls depicting the twelve sexual acts that the crown prince had to carry out as an expression of yin yang.

The ukiyo-e movement as a whole sought to express an idealisation of contemporary urban life and appeal to the new chōnin class. Following the aesthetics of everyday life, Edo period shunga varied widely in its depictions of sexuality. As a subset of ukiyo-e it was enjoyed by all social groups in the Edo period, despite being out of favour with the shogunate. Almost all ukiyo-e artists made shunga at some point in their careers.

In almost all shunga the characters are fully clothed. This is primarily because nudity was not inherently erotic in Tokugawa Japan, because people were used to seeing one another naked in communal baths. It also served an artistic purpose; it helped the reader identify courtesans and foreigners, the prints often contained symbolic meaning.

Shunga couples are often shown in nonrealistic positions with exaggerated genitalia. Explanations for this include increased visibility of the sexually explicit content, artistic interest and psychological impact: that is, the genitalia is interpreted as a 'second face,' expressing the primal passions that the everyday face is obligated to conceal, and is therefore the same size as the head and placed unnaturally close to it by the awkward position.

This obligation to prioritize the duties that contribute to social cohesion, which often supercede individual passions or feeling, is known as "giri" (義理), and the tension between social obligations and individual longings, whether these be sexual or relating to many other aspects of interpersonal connection, is a common theme of Edo period Japanese literature, drama, and visual art. The individual emotion to which giri is placed in opposition is known as ninjo (人情), and shunga expresses the conflict in particulary stark terms, although its separation of sexual desire from other forms of difficult human feeling coming up against social duty is in some ways less societally disruptive than other examples, as most shunga focuses on sexual activity considered in isolation, and in caricatured form.

Suzuki Harunobu (鈴木 春信 - c. 1725 – 15 July 1770) was a Japanese designer of woodblock print artist in the Ukiyo-e style. He was an innovator, the first to produce full-color prints (nishiki-e) in 1765, rendering obsolete the former modes of two- and three-color prints. Harunobu used many special techniques, and depicted a wide variety of subjects, from classical poems to contemporary beauties. Like many artists of his day, Harunobu also produced a number of shunga, or erotic images. During his lifetime and shortly afterwards, many artists imitated his style. A few, such as Harushige, even boasted of their ability to forge the work of the great master. Much about Harunobu's life is unknown.


Tea house and the male color - Chaya no ni-kai no danshoku (茶屋の二階の男色)
From the series: The Amorous Adventures of Mane'emon
Furyu enshoku Mane'emon - 風流艶色真似ゑもん

The story of Mane'emon: A native of Edo who has enjoyed sex all his life, vows to study the ‘way of love’ more deeply, and makes a pilgrimage to a shrine and prays to the god of love. The ‘love protection’ deity appears and the man receives a strange potion which he is told will fulfil all his desires. The strange potion consists of ‘mud dumplings’ (tsuchi dango), which cause his body to shrink to the size of a bean, and a miraculous medicine which ensures that he will never age or die. He eats the dumplings straight away, shrinks down to bean-size, and sets out on a voyage of adventure around various provinces, using the name Mane’emon. The main narrative is a description of the various sexual customs that Mane’emon witnesses in the places he visits. Across the top of each picture is the story and an erotic senryu (comic haiku) verses. Around the figures are conversations between the protagonists and Mane’emon’s commentaries on the proceedings. Viewing the pictures alongside these explanations and conversations gives us an extremely clear understanding of the context of each shunga print. Mane'emon is seen in each print as a tiny man observing the scenes.

A young female Kabuki role actor (onnagata - 女方) and his client making love at a tea-house near a kabuki theater, as Mane'emon holding a kite watches them. The stylized chrysanthemum pattern on the mattress is often used in male to male shunga prints.

In Edo period Japan, a man could take a younger male lover if he chose. At a tea house near a Kabuki theater, a young Kabuki female role specialists (onnagata) stimulates himself as he mounts his client. The narcissi on his robe are a symbol of male love. Mane'emon comments, "'Good heavens, the method of having male sex involves some elaborate armwork."

Inscriptions:
まねえもん 五 まねへもん やりくり島にて夫婦<みやうと>のいざこざゆへ 其家をそふ/\宵だちにして ふきやがはま さかいしまへ渡り けん酒めりやすの声をまくらとして 其夜はとあるいへいに夢を結び 何とそ二かいのてい とこの頼しみを見んと思ふ 折ふし春の末なれば いかのぼりの糸めに取附物干に下り こと/\くやうすを見て喜悦の思ひをなしけるが あまりのさわぎにとりのぼせ それより湯治ながら在辺へおもむく

「けふはきついふうらい山人と云身た 座しきはとんだおもしろ事 いやはやとこはいかぬ事の どふりてかつは先生も木曽ぢをやめて 南ン品ンとでられた」「ヲゝ うでがだるふてしんどふなつた」


Approximate image sizes:

9" x 13" fine art paper - image size 7" x 9"
11" x 14" fine art paper - image size 8.8" x 11.5"
13" x 19" fine art paper - image size 11" x 14.2"

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