Shunga: Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art at the British Museum

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Kano school. Older and younger man making love, first scene from Untitled shunga handscroll. Early 17th century. The British Museum, purchase funded by Brooke Sewell bequest
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In Japan during the years 1600 to 1900, thousands of sexually explicit paintings, prints and illustrated books were produced. These works were known as "spring pictures" (Shunga).

Shunga were mostly produced within the popular school known as "pictures of the floating world" (ukiyo-e), by celebrated artists such as Utamaro and Hokusai. During the 20th century Shunga became taboo and all but disappeared.

This exhibition will explore the social and cultural contexts for sex art in Japan, and highlight Shunga's importance in Japanese art history.

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British Museum

British Museum
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