Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国)

Print: Ehon: In Praise of Love in All Four Seasons (Shunka shūtō - 春夏秋冬 - Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter: Shiki no nagame - 色の詠) - volume 2 of a 4 volume set

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Dates: 1827 - 1829,created
Dimensions: 7.5 in,10.0 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: color woodblock prints bound in book (ehon)

Related links: British Museum - all 4 volumes; National Museum of Asian Art - volume 2 with text;

Physical description:

"The four volumes of the same artist's Shiki no Nagame, 'An appraisal of Sensual Pleasure', also no doubt published in the 1830s, are a truly remarkable production, distinguished not so much for the designs, which follow a fairly predictable pattern of generally violent love scenes, portrayed with a coarseness all the more repellent on account of Kunisada's skillful realism, but for the amazing technical brilliance of the print-makers..."

Quoted from: The Art of the Japanese Book by Jack Hillier, vol. 2, p. 901.

Page #4 in the Lyon Collection is illustrated in Hillier on page 903, pl. 175.


In the first picture of the first book of this series - not one Mike Lyon owns yet - is a handsome young man showing a demure young woman a scroll of shunga images. Timothy Clark wrote of this scene and wondered how we are supposed to interpret it. In our opinion it is used for setting the stage of all of the prints by Kunisada which were to follow. It is setting the mood. Elegant, evocative and visceral.


On page 2 of this site are two women in a bathhouse. One is stooping down, totally nude, holding a blue and white cloth in her mouth. The other woman is standing near her and appears to be putting on a light cotton robe with vertical bands of white decorations against a deep blue ground. Those decorations are made up of alternating bands of gourds and bats.