In this article we’ll take a closer look at shunga designs by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) in which he adds mice
In this second part (here you can find Part 1 ) we’ll study one of Hokusai shunga scenes that is illustrated in Vol.I of the series ‘ The Horny God of Izumo (En-musubi Izumo no sugi) ‘. ..
and dogs as a comic supplement.
Fig.1. ‘Relaxing Couple and copulating mice‘ (c.1812-14) from the series ‘Models of Loving Couples (Tsuhi no hinagata)‘ by Katsushika Hokusai
Two Black Mice
In the above design from the ‘Tsuhi no hinagata’ -series we see an intimate couple reclining after a sensual bout of love-making. The humorous touch has been added by Hokusai
Japanese greatest artist in history Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) excelled in all ukiyo-e genres. He produced his most iconic designs in the landscape ( The Great Wave ) and the shunga ( The Dream of the..
with the two black mice still copulating in the foreground. The cat on the left behind the couple complains that he is the only one not having any fun, and is toying with the idea of catching a mouse.
The late Shunga expert Dr. Richard Lane said the following about this design:
“As is customary with Hokusai, in one scene of the series (red. Tsuhi no hinagata) we are afforded a bref respite from the acrobatic exertions of sexual passion. Here, the lovers are seen in mid-summer, taking their own brief respite from sex
Betty Dodson (born 1929) was trained as a fine artist in the 1950s, and in 1968 had her first show of erotic art at the Wickersham Gallery in New York City. In the 1970s, she quitted her art career and began studying..
: the drowsing woman, still holding gently but firmly onto her lover’s spent phallus.
And, in that adroit touch of humor and variety with which few artists but Hokusai could succeed, at bottom we view two black mice, engaged in their own love-making: doubtless, stimulated by what they have just seen of human efforts in that endeavor? (This possibility is not just a figment of my imagination: cf. Hokusai notable shunga
Shunga, a genre within ukiyo-e displaying the erotic secrets of ancient Japan. These prints where commonly created by using woodblock printing.
scene involving the passionate conversation of two rutting dogs – see Fig.2).
Fig. 2. ‘Intimate couple on streetcorner‘ (c.1821) from the series ‘Gods of Intercourse
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) produced The Gods of Intercourse (Manpuku wagojin) in 1821. It was his last contribution to shunga in book form. The erotic genre to which he had devoted so much energy..
(Manpuku Wagojin)‘ by Katsushika Hokusai
Not only that, but a pert little, belled-and-beribboned kitten looks on curiosity at left: too young either to know much of sex itself, or even, luckily, to present any real danger to the love-possessed mice. (Rarely for any shunga print, the lovers’ previous sexual acts and conversation are recorded in detail through the kitten’s eyes – presented in the form of a catish monologue).
Note: Readers interested in animal psychology may well ask if rats/mice might, indeed, be stimulated by viewing/sniffing human sexual activity. I have been unable to locate any scientific study concerning this intriguing subject, which might well constitute an excellent theme for a PH.D. dissertation (with, I should think, no shortage of unpaid volunteers).
Eisen’s memorable scene of a love-making monkey-trainer and aroused monkey comes immediately to mind (see Fig.3. and 4). And graphic evidence exists, moreover, in the work of Hokusai himself – regarding the sexual stimuli experienced by horny dogs.
Fig.3. ‘Horny monkey‘ (c.1817) form the series ‘Midare Gami (Hair in Disarray/Tangled hair)‘ by Keisai Eisen
Fig.4. ’Intimate couple with horny monkey’ (c.1820) from the series ’Mitsukumi Sakazuki’ by Keisai Eisen
After Hokusai , undoubtedly the most striking figure among the later shunga artists is Keisai Eisen (1790-1848). Eisen was to prove one of the most prolific (together with Kunisada ) of all ukiyo-e shunga masters…
Fig.5. ‘Giant baboon forcing itself on a reluctant courtesan‘ (c.1810s) by Keisai Eisen*
Fig.6. ‘Copulating couple observed by a cat
In the majority of cases the sexual act depicted in shunga take place in the bedroom, either in a private house, an inn or a brothel. But there is also a great diversity of locations. Sex While Cooking For example,..
‘ (c.1910s) by an unidentified artist
Fig.7. ‘Sleeping couple and dog‘ (c.1820s) attributed to Keisai Eisen
It’s very likely that the above koban print by Eisen (Fig.7) was inspired by Hokusai’s design from ‘Models
Helmut Newton (1920-2004) was a German-Australian photographer whose works appeared in lots of fashion magazines, like Vogue , French Vogue , Marie-Claire , Elle , and Playboy . Newton made numerous nude photographs..
of Loving Couples‘ (Fig.1). After an insatiable bout of love-making a nude
couple is reclining while a horny dog (his tongue hanging out) is focused on the private parts of the female.
Fig.8. ‘Aroused female watching two copulating cats. In the background stands a stone water basin with a wooden scoop lying on top of it‘ (c.1765) from the series ‘Ehon haru no yume‘ by Kikukawa Hidenobu (Source: ‘Сюнга. Откровенное искусство Японии / Shunga. Explicit art of Japan‘, 2016. Authors: A. E. Pushakova, K. G. Danelya) **
Fig.9. ‘Sleeping beauty and curious cat‘ ( c.1790s) from the series ‘Ehon Yamato kotoba‘ attributed to Chōkōsai Eishō (Source: Shunga. Explicit art of Japan‘, 2016. Authors: A. E. Pushakova, K. G. Danelya) **
More of this in part 2 in which we’ll examine more erotic designs by Hokusai featuring copulating dogs from ‘The Horny God of Izumo‘ –series!
Source: ‘The Complete Ukiyo-e Shunga (Ukiyo-e Shunga Meihin Shusei): Tsuhi no hinagata‘ (Vol.13) by Richard Lane
*Fig.5 displays an oban-sized design which Eisen made in reaction to Hokusai’s iconic ‘The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife‘. Although he has not quite succeeded in doing this (it is quite unknown and rare) it does immediately attract our attention. The giant ape, filling two-thirds of the image area, is caressing the private area of the woman before penetrating her with its winding genitals. She fights him with all her strength, but has no chance.