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Dream of the Fisherman's Wife c. 1820 - Hokusai


Shunga (lit. springtime pictures in Japanese) are Japanese erotic pictures, usually in print format. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shunga [Jan 2005]

The style is known as shunga (pictures of spring), with some of its greates practitioners (Harunobu, Utamaro, Hokusai) producing large numbers of works. Painted hand scrolls were also very popular. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erotic_art#Modern_erotica [Jan 2005]


Ukiyo-e (a Japanese term meaning "pictures of the floating world") is a style of painting, but is more commonly associated with a type of woodcut printmaking that became popular in Japan in the 18th and 19th centuries. The art form arose in the metropolitan culture of Edo (Tokyo) during the second half of the 17th century, originating with the single color works of Moronobu Hishikawa.

Ukiyo-e prints were made using the following procedure:

Ukiyo-e were a relatively cheap way of making many images. They were meant for mainly townsmen, who weren't rich enough to buy an original painting. The original subject of Ukiyo-e was city life, in particular activities and scenes from the entertainment district. Beautiful courtesans, bulky sumo wrestlers and popular actors would be portrayed while engaged in appealing activities. Later on landscapes also became popular. Political subjects, and individuals above the lowest strata of society (courtesans, wrestlers and actors) were not sanctioned in these prints and very rarely appeared. Sex was not a sanctioned subject either, but continually appeared in ukiyoe prints. Artists and publishers were sometimes punished for creating these sexually explicit shunga.

Ukiyo-e were a source of inspiration for many European impressionist painters.

Important Ukiyo-e artist include:

--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukiyo-e [Jan 2005]

Ichikawa Ichizo III as Rokusaburo the Carpenter (1858) - Utagawa Kunisada (1786 - 1865)

Ichikawa Ichizo III as Rokusaburo the Carpenter (1858) - Utagawa Kunisada (1786 - 1865)

The figure depicted here, boldly wrestling a giant fish, is Rokusaburo the Carpenter, the hero of a popular Japanese Kabuki play

Sex and the Floating World : Erotic Images in Japan 1700-1820 (2004) - Timon Screech

Sex and the Floating World : Erotic Images in Japan 1700-1820 (2004) - Timon Screech [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

About the Author
Timon Screech is Senior Lecturer in the history of Japanese art at SOAS, University of London, and Senior Associate at the Sainsbury Institute for Japanese Arts and Cultures. His books include The Western Scientific Gaze and Popular Imagery in Later Edo Japan (1996). Timon Screech is a senior lecturer in the history of Japanese art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, U.K.

Product Description:
This book offers a new assessment of the genre of Japanese paintings and prints today known as shunga. Recent changes in Japanese law have at last enabled erotic images to be published without fear of prosecution, but there has been very little attempt to situate the imagery within the contexts of sexuality, gender, or power. Timon Screech seeks to reestablish shunga in its proper historical contexts of culture and creativity. He opens up for us the strange world of sexual fantasy in the Edo culture of 18th-century Japan and investigates the tensions in class and gender of those that made-and made use of-shunga. --Amazon.com

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