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Ten komanda no zu, kōbutsu 十開の圖 虹佛 (Depiction of the Ten Commandments, Rainbow Buddha) / Reinbo Hokusai レインボー北斎 (Rainbow Hokusai)

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    2011,3026.1.1-55

  • Title (object)

    • Ten komanda no zu, kōbutsu 十開の圖 虹佛 (Depiction of the Ten Commandments, Rainbow Buddha)
    • Reinbo Hokusai レインボー北斎 (Rainbow Hokusai)
  • Description

    Colour screenprint. Scene of a couple making love, assembled from 54 separate square cards, each printed with part of the design. With purpose-made wooden storage box, printed with title.

  • Producer name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1970
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 90 centimetres (when assembled)
    • Width: 135 centimetres (when assembled)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        signature and date
      • Inscription Content

        9/90 Ai-O '70
      • Inscription Comment

        Signed in pencil
  • Curator's comments

    The print was awarded the Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art Prize at the 7th Tokyo International Print Biennale in 1970.

    Ay-O describes at length the genesis of this work in his own catalogue raisonne of his printed works, 1954-1979, published by Sōbunsha, Tokyo in 1979 (no. 203, pp. 66-67).

    He relates how he had long wished to engage with traditional Japanese shunga as 'magnificent examples of true erotic art'. Ay-O was in Kentucky and asked his friend Kubo to send him a 1.5m enlargement of two of his favourite shunga works. To get around any possible problems with Customs, the photos were cut into 15cm segments and sent in several packages in the mail. One of the works selected by Kubo was thought to be by Hokusai (it has subsequently been reattributed to Eisen). This was the genesis of the present print. Ninety sets of 54 cards were printed by Ay-O's printer Okabe, who took about one year to complete the project. When first shown publicly at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo in 1970, two sets were displayed side by side: one completely jumbled, and the other with the genitals card swapped with another in order to circumvent censorship. Ay-O commented how he found it erotically stimulating slowly to piece together his erotic jigsaw puzzle.
    (T. Clark, 8/2011)For the most comprehensive reference on this artist, see his autobiographical work:
    Ay-O, Over the Rainbow, Ay-O Restrospective 1950-2006, Tokyo, Bijutsu Shuppan-sha, 2006; the present work appears in this volume.

    More 

  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:
    2011-2013, Oct. - Feb. BM Japanese Galleries, ‘Japan from prehistory to the present’
    2013-2014, Oct-April BM Japanese Galleries, ‘Japan from prehistory to the present’

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    2011

  • Acquisition notes

    Credit Line: Purchase funded by the JTI Japanese Acquisition Fund

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    2011,3026.1.1-55

Scene of a couple making love; assembled from 54 separate square cards, each printed with part of the design. With purpose-made wooden storage box, printed with title.

Scene of a couple making love; assembled from 54 separate square cards, each printed with part of the design. With purpose-made wooden storage box, printed with title.

reproduced by permission of the artist © The Trustees of the British Museum

Image description

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