Monday, July 18, 2011

Japanese Shunga - art, eroticism, pornography

Keisai-Eisen Samurai

Why do we see the Shunga prints as erotic, when they actually show scenes of sexual acts? Gigantic male genitals penetrating vaginas that are half the size of the woman involved. Why do we consider them beautiful?
I think the answer is both in the art and the public. Shunga were not considered art in the time they were made. However, Japanese culture has a different definition of beauty. Beauty in the Western culture and in these particular decades became a term much unclear to the public.
To bring clarity to our thoughts, I recommend Umberto Eco’s book “On Beauty”.

Here’s about Shunga, from Wikipedia.
Shunga is a Japanese term for erotic art. Most shunga are a type of ukiyo-e, usually executed in woodblock print format. While rare, there are extant erotic painted handscrolls which predate the Ukiyo-e movement. Translated literally, the Japanese word shunga means picture of spring; "spring" is a common euphemism for sex.

The ukiyo-e movement as a whole sought to express an idealisation of contemporary urban life. Following the aesthetics of everyday life, Edo period shunga sought to express the sexual mores of the chonin in the widest variety of forms possible, and therefore depicted heterosexual and homosexual, old and young alike, as well as a wide range of fetishes. In the Edo period it was enjoyed by rich and poor, men and women, and despite being out of favour with the shogunate, carried very little stigma. Almost all ukiyo-e artists made shunga at some point in their careers, and it did not detract from their prestige as artists.[1] Classifying shunga as a kind of medieval pornography can be misleading in this respect.

Under: examples of homo-erotic Shunga (man fucking men...)

Kuniyoshi - Exposure

Kuniyoshi Old-Buddhist



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