“A woman sitting on a bench near a stream sees the reflection of her lover’s face in the water. He wears his hair in the topknot as the popular Mitsuuji, who was illustrated in > Kunisada’s famous Rustic Genji series.”
The mandarin ducks are a symbol of fidelity because it was believed they paired for life.
The poem in the sky above the ducks is written in Chinese kanshi:
Mandarin ducks on a pillow - three sleeping heads,
Kingfihers enclosed within sliding doors - six legs encroached.
Translation by Laura Moretti
Antique Japanese color woodblock. Shunga (Erotic print).