Set of woman’s ‘toilet’ implements for sexual gratification, consisting of six dildoes & penis supports (harikata, kujiri, kabuto, yoroigata, himenakigata), two rings (rin-no-wa, namako-no-wa) and metal ball (rin-no-tama). Made of horn, metal. In wooden storage box (lid missing).
early 20th C
Phalluses were often made in stone and wood, and presented as offerings to shrines as part of phallic cults to pray for good harvests and fertility in the family. A clear distinction should, of course be made between phalluses used in these religious cults and dildos used in everyday life. The examples in this set were definitely made with actual, practical use in mind. They are called, literally, ‘laughter devices’ (warai do-gu), demonstrating the close interrelationship between sex and laughter.
These are real examples of the kinds of sex toys we see depicted in shunga. There are dildos made of buffalo horn (known as ushizo- ), tortoiseshell (kamezo-) and also wood (mokuzo- ). The hollow dildo (pictured centre) could have cotton wadding soaked in hot water placed inside it, the hot water making the dildo soft and warm. Another kind of toy is called ‘Do-kyo- ’s armour and helmet’ (Do-kyo- no yoroi-kabuto), named after the monk Do-kyo- , who was said to have been the lover of Empress Ko-ken. This was worn on the penis to give it a ribbed texture. The ‘armour’ was worn on the shaft of the penis and the ‘helmet’ over the glans.
In this set there are two types: in one, the armour and helmet are separate (left); in the other, they form a single piece (right). There are also two examples of rings with knobbles on them worn around the penis: these are known, literally, as ‘secret rings to make women cry’ (himenaki-wa). It is apparent from these real examples of sex toys that they were made by craftsmen of great skill. Such sets were still made into the early twentieth century.