Postcard Image

Postcard Image
As the Victorian era passed into the Edwardian and Roaring Twenties, a market developed for bisque and china bawdy novelties and figurines of women in revealing outfits. Although now most of these figurines seem more coy and cute than ribald and risque, in their time they symbolized the casting off of the perceived restraints of the Victorian era.

These little lovelies included bathing beauties, who came clad in swimsuits of real lace or in stylish painted beach wear, as well as mermaids, harem ladies, and nudies, who were meant to wear nothing more than an engaging smile. Also produced were flippers, innocent appearing figurines who reveal a bawdy secret when flipped over, and squirters, figurines that were meant to squirt water out of an appropriate orifice.

Most were manufactured in Germany from the late 1800s through the 1930s, often showing remarkable artistry and imagination, with Japan entering the market during World War I.

Thursday, November 3, 2022


This week features another unusual piece of Japanese erotica, an obidome featuring a red coral carving of a nude woman framed by flowers, studded with tiny pearls. An obidome is a decorative slide used to ornament the front of the obijime, the cord used by Japanese women to help keep the wide sash or obi in place. Other than ornamental, the obidome serves no purpose. Legend traces the obidome to the class of female entertainers known as geisha, who, to honor a special patron or customer, slid his metal sword guard, called a tsuba, on her obijime. The geisha were the trendsetters of the day and soon women of all classes were using an ornamental slide to decorate the obijime. Some obidome are set with precious and semiprecious stones, and carved coral is a popular and traditional material. However, the other coral obidome I have seen are more innocuous subjects, such as koi or flowers like peonies or chrysanthemums. Considering that the obidome is displayed prominently on the front of the obi like a belt buckle, the choice of a nubile nude is rather surprising.

A view of the back of the obidome, displaying the slides for the obijime. Although the metal is unmarked, it tarnishes like silver. The obidome is 1.75 inches long.


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