— Shunga

A new exhibition, Shunga – sex and pleasure in Japanese art, opened last week at The British Museum, London.

Shunga is a Japanese term for erotic art. Most shunga are a type of ukiyo-e, usually executed in woodblock print format. Almost all ukiyo-e artists made shunga at some point in their careers, and it did not detract from their prestige as artists.


Translated literally, the Japanese word shunga means picture of spring; “spring” is a common euphemism for sex.


The Dream of The Fishermen’s Wife, Katsushika Hokusai


The Adonis Plant, Katsushika Hokusai


Spring Pastimes, Miyagawa Isshô


Sketch by Toyohara Kunichika


Scenes of Love Making, Sugimira Jihei


Hishikawa Moronobu




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