Erotica- Shunga

A Japanese term for erotic art. Most Shunga are a type of ukiyo-e, usually executed in woodblock print format. 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 idealization 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 activity, among the old and young alike, as well as a wide range of fetishes, (many of which appear in parades and festival celebrations to this day). In the Edo period Shunga was enjoyed by rich and poor men and women, and despite being out of “favor” with the shogunate, carried very little stigma. It was not unusual to find Shunga on the linings of Gentlemens jackets, (Haori) which are then prominently displayed when taken off at a public function.

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