Tsukioka Settei 月岡雪鼎 (1710–1786)
The Treasure Chest of Erotic Women in Ecstasy
(Iroonna dairaku takara-beki)

Japan, Edo period (1615–1868), 1751
Woodblock-printed book; ink on paper
Purchase, Richard Lane Collection, 2003

This portrait of a Dutch trader (with his curled, blond wig and cocked hat) beside a Japanese courtesan is likely the earliest depiction of a Westerner in the genre of shunga. The courtesan turns her head and gazes into the merchant’s eyes as she reaches out to borrow his pipe. Compared to much 19th-century shunga, the eroticism of this image is easily overlooked.

View info on museum database (enabled through support by the Robert F. Lange Foundation)