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Suzuki Harunobu (1724-1770)
Suzuki Harunobu (1724-1770)

Furyu enshoku Maneemon (Fashionable lusty Maneemon)

Suzuki Harunobu (1724-1770)
Furyu enshoku Maneemon (Fashionable lusty Maneemon)
Twenty-four prints depicting the diminutive Maneemon spying on lovers, twelve prints in country settings, twelve in the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter, each numbered, unsigned, published by Nishimuraya Yohachi-- very good impressions, generally good color, centerfolds, lightly soiled, minor stains, worming
chuban yoko-e: 20.7 x 27.2cm., each approx. (24)

Lot Essay

The scenes proceed in this order.

1. Praying for the secrets of love at the Kasamori Shrine, Ukiyonosuke kneels before the beauties Osen of the Kagiya tea house and Ofuji of the Moto Yanagiya, a tooth-cleaning supply shop. The women are likened to the Chinese female immortals from Mount Ryushin (also pronounced Kasamori) and Kinryuzan, respectively, who here bring him magic dumplings on a tray.

2. Ukiyonosuke has eaten the food given him by the immortals and has shrunk to miniscule, bean-size proportions, hence his new name, Maneemon (Bean man). Maneemon protests from under a desk as he views a calligraphy teacher raping his student.

3. Maneemon mimics the application of moxa by a young woman who is multi-tasking.

4. A man takes advantage of a young relative as his pregnant wife protests.

5. Maneemon floats to the second floor of a male brothel on a kite. The stylized chrysanthemums on the futon are often used in erotica to symbolize the anus.

6. The rice farmer mistakes an unexpected masked man for a deity of the Inari Shrine.

7. An old man is stirred by sounds of his son and daughter-in-law making love in the adjacent room.

8. Maneemon, fresh from the bath, is moved by the sight of lovers swayed by the song of a blind chanteur.

9. Maneemon, dressed as a traveler, passes the time watching a man make love to a woman on a horse.

10. Maneemon crawls forward for a ringside view of a couple having a quick one in the sericulture room.

11. Maneemon puzzles how to steal the sword from a young couple pledged to die.

12. In this heady scene, the famous female-role actor, Segawa Kikunojo II (1741-1773) fondles a young apprentice to the displeasure of a Yoshiwara courtesan as Maneemon gives them a rapsberry from the cherry tree.

13. This begins the second half of the set, devoted to scenes in the Yoshiwara. It is the man's first visit. The conversation does not go well, the mood is uncomfortable, and the woman offers her client a smoke.

14. Maneemon cools down as a courtesan prepares to service her client on his second visit. She tries to remove his obi but he is irritated and says "I'm a bit drunk, take it easy, I'm not in a hurry."

15. By his third visit the client and courtesan are acting like an old married couple, reading a letter in bed. The client hears the night watchman and a shinzo making love in the hallway. The courtesan assures him it is only the sound of water boiling for tea.

16. Irises, a phallic symbol, and a gushing waterfall painted on a folding screen inspire a couple in the bedroom. The encounter over, the man picks up the pieces of tissue paper.

17. A courtesan in dishabillé peeks through the noren to discover a forbidden liason between another courtesan and an employee of the house.

18. It is late at night and the shinzo (apprentice) has already fallen asleep. The courtesan finally shows up late and the client, annoyed, calls her a wood pillow, meaning that he knows she doesn't want to get her hair disheveled by lovemaking.

19. Finishing off a good meal and ready for dessert. A man's favorite courtesan is meeting with another customer, so he makes a pass at her young assistant. His bare foot protruding from the bedding is a clue that something went on between them.

20. What's up? A client's hasty embrace of a young attendant is discovered by the courtesan.

21. A courtesan pommels a former client with a pipe while his new favorite watches in a mirror. Iris and chrysanthemum motifs signal penetration.

22. Playing with his instrument. Maneemon participates by drumming on his cup with chopsticks.

23. The couple are happily united in bed. She says "You're so cute." Bored, Maneemon starts eating.

24. Furtive lovers are about to be discovered by the night watchman on a street in the Yoshiwara.

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