Utagawa School: Movable Paper Doll Shunga scene “Shikake bunko” 仕掛文庫
Artist: Utagawa School (Possibly Kunisada)
Title: Movable paper doll shunga scene titled “Shikake bunko” 仕掛文庫
Date: Ca. 1840s
An articulated cut-out doll wherein when one pulls the tab at bottom, the gentleman on top thrusts his hips (as it were). An Edo Period Japanese collector purchased this work and kindly cut it out and assembled it for us. With four moving parts to the man and four knots to hold the paper firm in strategic places, while other parts are allowed to move. There is a peekaboo modesty element that may be folded down at right, whence the naughty parts can be obscured by a scene showing a tray of food and a hanging kimono. Verso there is a printed sheet that contains three verses of a song, titled at top “Najimi no toko” なじみの床, or “Sharing the bed with a regular customer”. The text begins with the following lyrics: “ The pleasure quarter flourishes with love affairs and skillful techniques of love business at Naka-no-cho.” The title on the front reads “Shikake bunko” 仕掛文庫, which apparently refers to the portable box belonging to the geisha of Nakano-cho, Fukagawa pleasure quarter, in which she stores kimonos to be chosen by a client. This is known as an expression used in the Fukagawa pleasure quarter (Fukagawa go). Works of this type are quite scarce.
Condition: Overall very good impression, color and condition; with some creases and signs of use.
Dimensions: koban (approx. 8.5 x 12.5 cm)
Signature: unsigned, as usual with shunga