ABACUS OF LOVE (Katsukawa Shuncho)

N.1 shunga woodblock print
Year: 1790 ca.
Condition: signs of aging
Size: 36,5 x 24,5 cm



Important large format original shunga (春画) woodblock print, made around 1790 by the famous artist Katsukawa Shuncho (勝川春潮). A couple of lovers have a moment of pleasure next to the chobagoshi (帳場格子) counter, the place of the store used for accounting. Behind the couple, a soroban (算盤) abacus and a pile of accounting books.

The print belongs to an unidentified series, but represents at a very high level the more mature style of Shuncho, one of the most original authors of the late 18th century. The design is monumental and the technique used is that of benigirai (紅嫌い), which excluded the use of red pigments (the red of the wooden box visible on the right is actually the result of a fading of the original green) and which was adopted by the publishers following an antilux decree issued by the shogun (将軍).

The fine work on Japanese washi paper (和 紙) presents the right aging of paper, small holes and restorations as well as a sign of vertical folding and, nevertheless, keeps intact its extraordinary visual impact.