A Fine & Rare Japanese Erotic Painting Edo Period 17/18th. Century
11 ½ x 11 1/2 ins. (29.2 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 woman's long black tresses are used to wonderful decorative effect in a tradition that goes back to the Heian Period in the 8th. century. Amusingly the man is wearing nothing except his courtiers hat! The painting is done on a very fine and smooth ivory coloured paper which is an excellent foil for the intense colours. The backing sheet of the makimono mount is probably not original, old makimono were often re-mounted due to wear and tear. The painting is in excellent un-faded condition, there are the expected stress cracks in the paper and a slight flake of white pigment is missing from the lady’s buttock.
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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