Courtesan with a Young Man (Wakashu) beside a Screen

Hishikawa Moronobu 菱川師宣 Japanese

Not on view

In ukiyo-e prints, male youths known as wakashu—identified by unshaved forelocks and an upright topknot—are often paired with courtesans. This image belongs to a set of fourteen erotic prints known as makura-e (pillow pictures), or shunga (spring pictures) in modern parlance. While most makura-e within a set tend to be explicit, there are usually two or three earlier in the sequence, as here, that merely hint at romance.

Courtesan with a Young Man (Wakashu) beside a Screen, Hishikawa Moronobu 菱川師宣 (Japanese, 1618–1694), Woodblock print (sumizuri-e); ink and hand-applied color on paper; horizontal ōban, Japan

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