[HOKUSAI, Katsushika (1760-1849).] Ehon Futami-gata [Erotic Book of Conjugal Eddies]. [c.1802-4.] 3 volumes, 8° (215 x 152mm). 21 double-page and 6 full-page colour-printed woodblock illustrations. (Short wormtrack affecting 1 full-page and 5 double-page plates and 6 text-leaves in volume I, neat mostly marginal modern Japanese annotation in pencil throughout.) Original blue paper wrappers with minor gilt decoration, printed title slips pasted to upper covers (lightly creased and worn).
'IT IS ONLY BY RARE GOOD CHANCE THAT A SHUNGA AS RARE, OR AS CLOSELY GUARDED, AS EHON FUTAMI-GATA, IS LIKELY TO BE SEEN AT ALL' (Hiller p.507). Only attributed to Hokusai by Hayashi Yoshikazu and Hillier in 1981 and 1987 respectively, the present work is now seen as key to the development of Hokusai's erotic art from his early works of the Shunro period to his later masterpieces. 'The scene of the robber raping a woman whose husband he has tied up and whom he taunts with the point of his sword, is one of the most horrifying of any shunga of the period ... But the malevolent, black-clad figure of the robber is truly monumental and one of the most memorable images of the shunga even of this period' (Hillier, p.507). J. Hillier The Art of the Japanese Book (London, 1987) pp.505-9; R. Lane Hokusai Life and Work (London, 1989) IV.8. (3)