Shunga at the British Museum

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The exhibition of Shunga: sex and pleasure in Japanese art, opens tomorrow at The British Museum.

Wood block prints, paintings and drawings produced between 1600 to 1900, which were banned in Japan for much of the 20th century, will be on display in one of the UK’s most prestigious museums until January 2014.

Shunga is the Japanese term for erotic art. The word, when translated literally means picture of spring; playing on the well known euphemism for sex, and the art form has been a central influence to the more modern day manga, anime and Japanese tattoo art.

Inspired by artists such as Pablo Picasso (below), Toulouse-Lautrec, Beardsley and Rodin, the detailed images are not only beautiful and explicit in nature, they also shed light on social and cultural history.

Most depict ‘ordinary’ people – the chonin – though there are also appearances from Courtesans and gigolos. Occasionally octopi were also featured, with The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife by Hokusai of 1814 (below) being one of the best known works of tentacle erotica.


The exhibition, described by The British Museum as ‘frequently tender and humorous, they celebrate sexual pleasure in all its forms’, will be displaying 150 works and is running from 3rd October 2013, until 5th January 2014.

Visit; Shungsa: sex and pleasure in Japanese art

Sexual Alchemy and Afterglow are teaming up for an evening at Shunga: sex and pleasure in Japanese art on Friday 1st November… & we’d love for you to join us! Click here for more info.

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Shop Shunga pleasure products: candles, massage oils, lubricants, pleasure collections.


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