shunga: helpful cat threatens to scratch the hairy balls of a man locked in copulation with an unseen figure (could be gay sex and art is sometimes tagged as homoerotic)

This is most of an “ink and color on silk” hanging scroll painting by Japanese artist Kawanabe Kyôsai (1831 – 1889) that’s in the collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art. It reminds me of this post from a dozen years ago:

I will not bat at my male human’s family jewels while he is engaged in the act of mating with my female human, no matter how tempting the danglies are. My humans get mad and I might get free flying lessons.

In several of the places where this artwork appears on the internet, it’s tagged as “gay” or “homoerotic”. Given that we see nothing of the penetrated figure except feet and legs, I wonder whether this is simply the natural tendency of the taggers to see the scene they wanted to see in an ambiguous work of art, or whether it’s art-historian stuff based on evidence extrinsic to the work?

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