Wednesday, February 20, 2008

春画 : shunga

shunga (春画): japanese erotic pictures, mostly woodcut, and very vintage.

any ancient forms of erotic/pornographic/sexual art are so fascinating...
it seems like such an essential part of human nature, almost.

shunga, in particular, is so exciting, because of the contrast between their delicate lines (and clothing) and the unabashedly vulgar content.

i love the subtle, euphimistic manner (so asian, esp. japanese/korean) of calling these pictures "shunga", contrasted against the boldness of the picture.
shun ga=春画= literally meaning, Spring Picture ;
spring being a common euphimism for sex.
(they also call prostitution 賣春, "selling spring").

a few on top are by the ukiyo-e master, hokusai,
famous for his fuji mountain series.
( i've also posted this particular shunga by him a few posts ago. )


  1. You know better than me, who have researched 'shunga' for 20 years.

  2. All the attention for erotic woodcuts (shunga), the riveting art form from 19th Century Japan
    has to be applauded!

    In the Spring of 2010 there will be a publication on shunga which will be the standard work
    on the subject with over 300 pictures. The author is Gian Carlo Calza and the book will be
    (most probably) entitled "Erotic Images from the Floating World".

    More info on shunga you can find on the following website: