Shunga: Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art
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'a mixture of artistic sensibility and imagery that leaves nothing to the imagination' - The Telegraph
In early modern Japan, thousands of sexually explicit paintings, prints, and illustrated books with texts were produced. These were euphemistically called ‘spring pictures’ (shunga) and were originally created by the artists of the ukiyo-e school of the floating world to advertise brothels in 17th-century Yoshiwara, including the celebrated artists Utamaro and Hokusai.
This catalogue of an exhibition in 2013/4 at the British Museum aims to answer some key questions about what shunga is and why was it produced. Erotic Japanese art was heavily suppressed in Japan from the 1870s onwards and it is only in the last twenty years or so has it been possible to publish unexpurgated examples in Japan.
Drawing on the latest scholarship and featuring over 400 images of works from major public and private collections, this book sheds new light on this unique art form within Japanese social and cultural history.
About the author:
Timothy Clark, Head of Japanese Section, British Museum