Utagawa Kunisada 歌川国貞 / Toyokuni III 三代歌川豊国 (1786–1865)
Utei Enba II 二代烏亭焉馬 (1792–1862)
Vaginal Tales of the Nocturnal Palace
(Kaidan yoru no tono), vol. 1 of 3
Japan, Edo period (1615–1868), 1826
Woodblock-printed book; ink and color on paper
Purchase, Richard Lane Collection, 2003
Presented as a sequel to the widely acclaimed erotic parody The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons (Hyakki yagyō), which is on display nearby, Vaginal Tales of the Nocturnal Palace is set during the Kamakura period (1185–1333). One moonlit night Princess Igiyoi met a young fishmonger named Sukejū and invited him back to her luxuriously decorated palace. Soon after they arrived, the princess seduced him, and the fishmonger, the princess and her attendant began to cavort as the rest of the entourage spied upon them from behind a bamboo screen.
Three flaps are incorporated into these pages, and when the flaps are turned, the composition folds out to twice its original width, revealing that Sukejū has been cruelly deceived by a skulk of vixen. Rather than in the bedroom of an elegant mansion, he finds himself kneeling on a straw mat in the middle of a field. All of the women have now revealed themselves to be foxes. While the rest of them raid Sukejū’s supply of fish and absentmindedly lick their genitals, Princess Igiyoi lies staring up at her lover and chews on a trout.
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