Posted by Theo de Kreijger on February 18, 1998 at 23:44:03:
In Reply to: Re: Help wanted with shunga (picture included) posted by Hans Olof Johansson on February 18, 1998 at 08:38:14:
: I cannot answer any of these questions, but I wonder if the apparition really is a ghost.
: The woman seems to be reading a book, while ... whatever she is doing. Maybe it's a novel, and the apparition is the hero of the novel, coming to her in her imagination?
: I am not able to read the text, but from what I assume to be name tags, the name of the man seems to be Ka-something-nomi, and the woman Tana-something.
: The mon on the man's dress could perhaps be a clue to his identity.
The nobleman (the fact that he has two swords suggest that he represents a samuria) might indeed be someone in the girls imagination. Perhaps her hero is a famous actor (he actually has a blue, shaved forhead). She might be fantasizing about him. But perhaps he's even both: an actor and a ghost! The mon could be the clou to his identity. But first some (new) facts:
Against the man being a ghost::
1. There are no red flames around him.
It was custom practise to confirm the fact that someone was a ghost by depicting one or more small flames floating next to the ghost.
2. His face is not blue-ish. Actors always used grey-blue make-up to show the audience that they were 'dead but still vivid'. Artist also used to portray ghosts with a blue-ish face.
For the man being a ghost:
1. Théo Lésoualc'h says in his book the man is a ghost trying to capture (sexual) energy from the woman, like in tradional Japanese stories. He gives a range of other examples and shows some more reproductions of other prints. To bad he documented his illustrations poorly.
2. He is no passive 'dream', but actively present. In the scene he's absolutely looking at her. In the other scene I discovered in Théo Lésoualc'h book he is even holding the woman's arm and foot. But still he is vanishing from the waste downwards.
3. The man's face might not be blue-ish, but the whole room is! This might have been done as some kind of a clue.
I'm even more fascinated by the print then I was before. I hope that someone might identify the 'mon' of the actor. This could solve a lot!
Many thanks, Theo de Kreijger
P.s.: I found the name tags to be something like kahonake for the (ghost?) actor and tana-something for the woman. But you might be closer to the truth.
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