A Fine & Rare Japanese Erotic Painting Edo Period 17/18th. Century
13 x 11 1/2 ins. (33 x 29.2 cms) This superb painting on paper was originally part of a makimono or horizontal hand scroll. Unfortunately makimono are very vulnerable to damage, especially on the outer sections. Also, unless the scrolls are regularly unrolled the paper becomes stiff and intractable and liable to split. Hence many paintings, drawing and prints are more likely to survive in good condition if they are removed from their original mounts.
This design is of superb quality, the painting of the detailed diaper patterns are particularly finely executed and enhanced with gold pigment. The subject is a very odd and amusing one! The man’s pubic hair seems to similar to the hedge dividing the two figures! The picture is clearly intended to be humorous. The backing sheet of the makimono mount is probably not original, old makimono were often re-mounted due to wear and tear. There are a number of worm holes in the unpainted areas which are covered by the backing sheet and some small flakes on the hedge. There are some scuffs and marks on the surface (see photos).
The style is that of the Tosa school which heavily influenced later Ukiyoe painting. As there was no tradition of drawing from the nude figure until the late 19th. century, the anatomy is rather odd from an academic point of view but, of course, photographic realism was not the aim and the artist's ideas were conveyed perfectly well despite the figural eccentricities. The painting dates from ca. 1700.
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