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Shunga discussion - different grades

What subject or legend is depicted in your netsuke or sagemono?
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Re: Shunga discussion - different grades

Postby maric » Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:40 am

Hi all my avid netsuke friends
I acquired this netsuke at a UK provincial auction recently. It was described as "a lady and gentleman in a circular tub sharing a drink"!
It is of course Okame and Hotei in a sake cup enjoying a cup of sake but look carefully and they seem to be enjoying something else!!
Okame is playing with a large upright object (a phallus?) while Hotei's left foot has disappeared up Okame's gown! Both are enjoying the moment.
Would this be classed as a shunga netsuke and at what grade? Can anyone help with the signature? Judging by the himotoshi I would say this was carved around 1900.

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Re: Shunga discussion - different grades

Postby KPR » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:22 am

If this is a phallus, I would say: Hardcore pornography of the highest level. :shock:
A harmless drink banquet, if it´s only a sake bottle. :lust:
The other hand of the Okame seem to be damaged and revised.
I think more about the material of this Netsuke.

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Re: Shunga discussion - different grades

Postby chonchon » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:39 am

Haha, and the name 春山 comes up again, which can be read Haruyama/Shunzan. Nicely written.

And notice the little decoration on the nerve hole:

Size is something.

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Re: Shunga discussion - different grades

Postby souldeep » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:09 am

chonchon wrote:And notice the little decoration on the nerve hole

Eagle eye - well spotted Piers!
Piglet: "Pooh?" Pooh: "Yes, Piglet?" Piglet: "I've been thinking..." Pooh: "That's a very good habit to get into to, Piglet." - A.A. Milne.

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Re: Shunga discussion - different grades

Postby jbjtennyo » Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:21 am

A playful and intriguing carving! From their positions, it looks as though Hotei's foot may indeed be "taking a walk on the wild side!" I am certain it is a saki bottle in Okame's left hand. And - If she is holding a phallus in her right hand-- well from their positions in the cup, Hotei would have to be very well endowed indeed!
I agree with Klaus in that it seems Okame's right hand suffered some damage and has been recarved. So if she was involved in some under water antics, we are left to our imagination! In any event, lots of fun and energy going on inside a cup of saki!

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Re: Shunga discussion - different grades

Postby Shugenja » Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:37 am

I've just read through this topic and would like to comment on a netsuke that Reinhard posted on Page 1. Image
The netsuke (Tako Nyudo... Octopus Priest / Monk) is of a smiling bald man, a priest, climbing across a severed octopus tentacle. I do not believe this is "shunga", but, rather, an image suggesting the Kyogen play "Tako". (For those not aware, Kyogen is the short comic / farce play performed between Noh dramas.)

In the play, a traveling Priest encounters the ghost of an octopus, described by a villager as "huge", that was captured and killed the previous spring, and is now asking the priest to pray for its soul. Amid a good bit of word-play / puns the priest recites the Heart Sutra. Then, asks the ghost how he met his end. The octopus provides the details, including how his arms and legs were chopped off for salting.

Several years ago, I acquired a netsuke of the same subject. Never satisfied that it was actually a type of shunga, I searched for a more plausible answer. After all, a severed limb may be perceived as less than "sexy". Ask John Bobbitt.

A general thought on "shun-ga" (spring pictures) classification... collectors of Japanese prints call "less than explicit" but still suggestive prints "abuna-e", risqué images.

And, for what it's worth, I think the figure in the sake cup with Okame is probably Fukusuke.

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Re: Shunga discussion - different grades

Postby lohrberg » Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:36 pm


Thank you, Christopher, to bring up this netsuke again. You are obviously on the right track by identifying it as the Octopus Priest from a Kyogen Play, which I had never heard of before.

And you are in good company with the selling dealer in Kyoto. When I mentioned, ohh, this is a shunga netsuke, he gave his very japanese laughter, shaking his head for at least ten seconds and bursting out: "No, no, no, no, no, not shunga !!!!

I kept silent then, thinking I knew better. As I see now, it was a silly imagination of a foreigner.
This dealer does not follow the Forum, anyway I apologize here into cyberspace,
and I will try to find out about that Kyogen play,


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Re: Shunga discussion - different grades

Postby AFNetsuke » Wed Aug 30, 2017 3:18 pm

Excellent contributions, Chris. Now it seems obvious that is Fukusuke with Okame in the cup.
Last edited by AFNetsuke on Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Shunga discussion - different grades

Postby KPR » Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:59 am

This kappa has a height of 6 cm.
First I was amazed by his outfit. Does he have a skirt?
Did you see something like this at a kappa?

A few days later, I discovered something else.
... ..... ..........!

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Re: Shunga discussion - different grades

Postby KPR » Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:27 pm

What I see now:
The knees are located behind and partly under the forearms, also good to recognize the direction of the thighs. On the knees lies the heavy hanging breasts.
It is a female kappa with skirts which shows us provocative the tongue.
Last edited by KPR on Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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