Lot 51
  • 51

School of Iwasa Matabei, titled Haru no tempura (Spring intimate pillow), Edo Period, late 17th century, Japanese Erotic handscroll (shunga emakimono)

30,000 - 40,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Painting
ink, colour, gofun (pulverized oyster shell) gold on paper

twelve various scenes including: Heian period noble woman and a mounted warrior, a courtesan and a warrior with an assistant (kamuro) joining, a young couple behind the screen and two assistants peeking, two noble women and a nun, mounted on brocade

Fitted with a wood box inscribed with the title, attribution and the collector’s name, in a black maki-e lacquered box decorated with chrysanthemum and scales mon (family emblem) among scrolling foliage in gold lacquer on a black ground (roiro-nuri) 


Collection Ferdinand M. Bertholet.


Japanese Erotic Fantasies: Sexual Imagery of the Edo Period, Amsterdam, 2005, pp. 68-69.

Catalogue Note

Translated literally, the Japanese word shunga means paintings of spring, a euphemism of erotic paintings and other art forms. Most shunga are a type of woodblock print. Although rare, there are erotic painted handscrolls which predate woodblock prints.

The vibrant twelve scenes are painted by the school of Iwasa Matabei school. The founder Iwasa Matabei (1578-1650) was an important Tosa genre painter in Kyoto, who studied under Tosa Mitsunori and possibly Kano Shoei.

Only two illustrated. To view other works in this lot, go to sothebys.com