Utagawa "Ando" Hiroshige
Courtesan and Young Man at Fuchu, ca. 1850
Color Woodcut, Japanese
3.50 x 4.50 in
The present work is an excellent example of the erotic Shunga prints produced by Utagawa 'Ando' Hioshige and his school. Shunga imagery became especially widespread in Japan with the spread of the use of woodblock printing, allowing these images to be produced in large numbers and distributed widely and inexpensively. Most major woodblock artists produced erotic scenes at some point in their careers, usually showing an idealized view into courtly life, in keeping with the larger Ukiyo-e tradition. This print shows a man and woman mid-coitus, wearing fine silk clothes and lying before an open balcony. Beyond the balcony is a view of a city bustling with figures. Like the beholder of this print, these figures have a similar voyeuristic view into this private moment. Multiple sophisticated printmaking techniques were used to make this image, not only including the multiple blocks needed to render each color. Special attention is paid to the faces of the figures; their hair and features show highly detailed 'key lines' that demonstrate the mastery of the block carver. 3.5 x 4.5 inches, print (koban yoko-e) 14.63 x 15.66 inches, frame Framed to conservation standards using 100 percent rag matting, housed in a gold gilded frame Print in excellent condition with vibrant colors and little signs of wear. Some wear to gilding on frame.