Suzuki Harunobu 鈴木春信 (1725?-1770)
Visit by the Fan Salesman
From an untitled series

Japan, Edo period (1615-1868), c. 1770
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Gift of James A. Michener, 1991

Not unlike the plumbers or pizza-delivery boys found in contemporary Western erotica, in the early Edo period (1615-1868), fan-sellers, identified by their distinctively shaped wooden cases, and other door-to-door salesmen were frequently featured in tales of sexually unsatisfied housewives or libidinous domestic servants. Harunobu commends this young man for observing proper decorum: before entering the house and seducing the resident wet nurse, he removed his sandals, which are shown lying on the stone patio.

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