Izanagi And Izanami - Wagtail

Item No.: P2855
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“A well-known portrayal of the gods Izanagi and Izanami on the Floating Bridge of Heaven watching a wagtail.”

Timon Screech on this design: “Japanese traditions established an immediate link between the world’s creation and human sexuality. The canonical story told of Izanagi and Izanami in the eighth generation of gods. They were the first to be visible and the first to procreate by sexual union. The narrative appears in the eighth-century Chronicles of Japan (Nihon-gi), where it states how Izanagi stood on the Floating Bridge of Heaven and dipped his ‘jewelled spear’ (uobatsura) into the formless water, shook it and withdrew, the falling drops coagulating into Ono Gorojima, that is, the Japanese archipelago – the first land. It had always been accepted that the ‘spear’ was his phallus. Importantly, although the female Izanami was beside him, Izanagi did not create land through intercourse (which he was still ignorant of) but by masturbation. The god only then sees a wagtail’s rear movements and understands how to copulate.” (p.263/264 in Sex and the Floating World, Erotic Images in Japan 1700-1820 ).

Reference: p.264 (Fig.133) in Sex and the Floating World, Erotic Images in Japan 1700-1820 by Timon Screech. Original antique Japanese color woodblock. Shunga (literally: ‘Spring picture’).

Additional Information

Artist: Yanagawa Shigenobu (1787–1832)

Date: 1830 (Year of the Tiger)

Size: ca. 7” x 9 3/4” inches

Series: Ama no ukibashi (The Floating Bridge of Heaven)

Impression: Fine (Magnificent metallic (silver and gold) and gauffrage printing techniques have been applied to various areas of the print)

Color: Very good

Condition: Very good (Minor marks and flaws)

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