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KITAGAWA UTAMARO (1754-1806)
KITAGAWA UTAMARO (1754-1806)
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KITAGAWA UTAMARO (1754-1806)

Abalone diver raped by scaly river monster (Kappa)

Details
KITAGAWA UTAMARO (1754-1806)
Abalone diver raped by scaly river monster (Kappa)
Woodblock print, from the set of twelve erotic illustrations Utamakura (Poem of the pillow), published by Tsutaya Juzaburo
Horizontal oban: 9 ¾ x 14 5/8 in. (24.8 x 37.1 cm.)

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Lot Essay

The Utamakura series is one of Utamaro's early masterpieces and includes twelve erotic scenes that range from tender to terrifying. As Richard Lane observed, Utamaro was not only the artist preeminent of the demimonde, but also one of the greatest and most prolific artists of erotica in the long history of Japanese art. Jack Hillier called this book "The ne plus ultra in the genre. Every refinement that the block-cutters and printers could display was demanded of them. A red-brown outline for features and limbs was used instead of the customary black; intense attention was given to the sharpness of the details, whether of features, hair or dress patterns; an extremely wide range of pellucid colors was drawn on, with immaculate registry" (Hillier, The Art of the Japanese Book [London: Sotheby's Publications, 1987], vol. 1, p. 415).

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