Thursday, June 4, 2015

Spring scene by Hosoda Eishi (c1790)

We will finish our al fresco sex theme with this painting by the Japanese artist Hosoda Eishi (1756-1829).  Most Japanese erotic art was in the form of woodblock prints and actual paintings, such as this, are rarer.  The ability to use more subtle shading gives them a particular delicacy, however.  Eishi, unusually for an artist at the time, was an aristocratic Samurai, as is his male protagonist here.  The woman, however, is wearing a maid's clothing.  This picture is from a set of twelve paintings of lovers, depicted at different times of the year.  The river in the background is the Sumida in Edo (now known as Tokyo). On the right, on the far bank, can be seen the gateway to the Mimeguri shrine which is still there today. This area, at the time of the painting was a popular place to look at flowers.

The view from Kuntsu Sumida Park looking towards the Mimeguri shrine today.  You can just glimpse the pale ochre-coloured Sumida river on the left hand side of the photograph at the chest height of the man in a blue jacket

Today, technically, despite the urbanisation of Tokyo, you could still have al fresco sex on this spot as it is the site of Kuntsu Sumida Park, a narrow open space which follows the river bank for just under a mile.  The shrine is no longer visible from the spot across the river as the view is blocked by the elevated Metropolitan Expressway 6, which runs between it and the river bank.

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