Japanese Erotic Polychrome Porcelain Snuff Bottle of Okame

The concept of “erotic art” (Shunga) may have emerged in the Edo period when every form of popular culture flourished. This does not mean there were no earlier works of erotica; very early works were by highly literate nobles and were often considered works of art. Japanese mythology, later formulated into the system known as Shinto, makes multiple references to sexuality, and almost always in a positive manner.

In the lateTaisho period and early Showa period, an artistic movement called Eroguronansensu, literally “erotic-grotesque-nonsense,” occurred, influenced by decadent works from Europe. These words were used because they had an rebellious air being new and modern in feeling. Until the 1950s, erotica was still very limited in production. Open sexual expressions were permitted in novels and woodblock form, but strict control was applied on photographs and films. During World War II, erotic materials were banned altogether.

This is a collector’s find, and rarely seen”. The figure represents Okame with female genitalia in combination with her mouth, with male genitalia as the back and top of her head. The piece is polychrome porcelain and has its original spoon. It is signed in older Katakana translated as KOUKEN NEN SAY meaning “watching with detachment” and the age (approximately 1933), but no artist signature. It is in very good condition for its age. With the Japanese occupation of China during this period, it is interesting to find an artifact like a snuff bottle, which was not a typical Japanese creation, although Okame is Japanese as well as the inscription. Dimensions: 1-¾” w x 2-½” h. See: http://snuffbottlejournal.blogspot.com/

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