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10 Violently Sinister Erotic Woodblock Prints in the Shunga Genre.

 

Since the first encounter of foreign countries with Japanese erotica in 1615, with their undisguised style in depicting the amorous without avoiding the sinister, there has been an incessant fascination with this art-form. The following ten (actually thirteen!) shunga designs are from sub-genres of the so-called chimidore-e  ('blood stained prints') and muzan-e  ('atrocious prints') prints.

You can click on the pictures for a larger and more detailed collage of the concerning print !

 

 

Skeleton - Utagawa Toyokuni I

Skeleton - Utagawa Toyokuni I

Skeleton - Utagawa Toyokuni I

Two love-making scenes depicting the same setting but from a different point of view in two succesive sheets. In the left image a man and woman are in a passionate embrace kissing tenderly. In the right image the woman has been transformed into a skeleton when the man falls asleep. Both designs are from Toyokuni I 's masterful shungabook series 'Ehon kaichu kagami' (Picture book: Mirror of the Vagina) published in c.1823.
Suicide - Utagawa Toyokuni I

Suicide - Utagawa Toyokuni I

Suicide - Utagawa Toyokuni I

Also from Toyokuni's Mirror of the Vagina series a horrifying seppuku  (suicide) scene with the couple in the left sheet depicted in the last stage before ending their life with the desperately crying. The herons painted on the folding screen are a clear point of reference connecting both events. The suicide scene has a striking resemblance with the crime scene pictures of the F.B.I.

More info about this particular series can be found (if you scroll down!) on the following page:
 
>> Toyokuni's Shunga Series Mirror of the Vagina.

Crucifixion - Utagawa School
Crucifixion - Utagawa School

A so-called trick-print with an included flap that when opened reveals another design. The first print depicts a woman nailed down to a giant wooden board with her bully behind her with his hand leaning on his instrument of torture. The male in the second picture is in the same ominous situation. His erected penis is a (unintentional?) sadomasochistic reference.

More info concerning this design can be found if you click here:  >> Crucifixion Shunga - Trick Print.

Ghost - Utagawa School

 

 

 

 

From the same book series as the previous plate designed in the 1840s a macabre scene with a bold-headed monk overpowered when he discovers his lover appears to be a ghost (spirit) holding blood soaked hair in her hands.

 

Ghost - Utagawa School

Giant Cat - Utagawa Kunisada

Giant Cat - Utagawa Kunisada

 

 

 

 

This peaceful intimate couple is violently disturbed by the intervention of a giant black cat. The cat has been escaped from the cage in the background and has his eyes and tongue fixated on the man's genitals.

 

 

Swordkill - Utagawa School

 

 

 

 

A violent encounter near a riverbank between a samurai, protecting his lover, and a dangerous female spirit. A sardonic detail is the sandal of the man touching the ghost's vagina while piercing his sword through her chest.

 

   Swordkill - Utagawa School

Dog Transformation - Utagawa Kunisada

Dog Transformation - Utagawa Kunisada

 

 

 

In the New Year of 1837 a shungabook series designed by Kunisada was published called Koi no yatsufuji (The Eight Dog Heroes of the satomi Clan). These book is an erotic parody on the well-known book Satomi Hakken-den written by Kyokutei Bakin. Kunisada's version also became a best-seller. In this particular image we see the female protagonist, the Princess Sasehime, being attacked by her actual lover, Yatsufusa, who has been transformed into a dog.

More info:  >> Kunisada Shunga - Eight Dog Heroes.

Running Women - Utagawa Toyukuni I

 

 

 

A design from Toyokuni's series Ikuyo monogatari  (c.1824) depicting the results of a short battle between a samurai, now making love to his lover, and two women (probably his girlfriend's helpers) who are now running for their lives in the background. The bloody sword pointing in the floor of the room as a silent witness.

 

    Running Women - Utagawa Toyukuni I
Public Bath - Utagawa Toyokuni I Public Bath - Utagawa Toyokuni I

 

 

 

This print is a continuing scene to the previous one, with the escaped women cleaning their wounds in a public bath. One of them is using a rather unorthodox way of washing her clothes.

 

 Brigand - Katsushika Hokusai
Brigand - Katsushika Hokusai
An early erotic design by the great Hokusai from the Ehon futamigata (Erotic Book of Conjugal Eddies)  dated c.1803. In this unfolding print over four pages an image of rape executed by a (ninja like) brigand who terrorizes both the tied up man, pointing his sword to his scrotum while at the same time is having sex with the tied up wife. A striking detail is the maintenance of the husband's erection while he's screaming for help. The design is already an early indication of Hokusai's mastery.


Recommendations:


'Poem of the Pillow and other Stories by Utamaro, Hokusai, Kuniyoshi and other artists of the Floating World'
by Gian Carlo Calza
'Japanese Erotic Fantasies, Sexual Imagery of the Edo Period'   by C. Uhlenbeck and M. Winkel

 

Some of the prints treated in this article are available in >> our gallery If you are a shunga lover or collector please donít hesitate to contact us if you have any questions/inquiries on the items we are offering: >> e-mail.

 

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