Utagawa School: Twelve Deluxe Shunga Scenes of Flowers of the Tokaido Road

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Artist: Utagawa School (Possibly Kunisada)
Title:Twelve koban shunga scenes (Irokurabe Hana no Miyakoji) Comparisons of Flowers of the Stations [of the Tokaido]
Date: Ca. 1840s

Twelve scenes that are a type of parody of the endlessly popular theme of the  Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido Road. These erotic scenes feature a variety of positions and settings that are matched with their Tokaido station. In addition to the usual bedchamber settings, other places include a kitchen, a bathhouse, and several featuring the out-of-doors, when the participants seemingly became overwhelmed by their desire. A humorous one includes a man and woman outdoors with a view of mount Fuji (station Yoshiwara) with an unwelcome dog grasping one end of a red clothing belt. The woman seems to be struggling, but these are works meant for titillation.  Although titillating fantasies, it still might rub the modern viewer that the “flowers” that are being compared to the Tokaido stations seem to be the women and their “charms.”  Note that the anatomies are not to scale. Rather unusually, there is some dimensionality to the bare parts of the bodies, as the outlines of the bodies and some of the garments have been emphasized with the extra step of blindprinting to help them come alive to the viewer. The printing is so deluxe (including metallic pigments) as to be compared with surimono.

Condition: Excellent impression and color; very good conditions. Lightly mounted to a backing cardstock that could be easily removed.
Dimensions: koban (each approx. 9 x 12.2 cm)
Signature: unsigned, as usual with shunga