Artist: Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)Title: A 'wakashu' and a courtesanSeries: Publisher: Date: c. 1840Medium: wooblock printSize/Format: koban yoko-e (c. 4.75" x 7.2")
Genuine SHUNGA and EGOYOMI shunga (erotic prints with hidden calendars). Wakashu were actors by profession; they played female roles, but being men, they shaved their forelocks and are usually shown, as here, with their foreheads covered in purple cloth. These were known as murasaki-boshi ('purple hats'). - Since wakashu, next to having been young actors playing female roles, often were boy prostitutes at the same time, in shunga they are often depicted in a homoerotic context, which doesn't seem to be the case here: the boy's partner seems to be a woman.
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