Katsushika Hokusai 1760-1849 Pine Seedlings On The First Rat Day, or Old True Sophisticates of the Club of Delightful Skills, 1814:
The octopus illustration (above) is an adaptation of an ancient tale about a female diver who steals a jewel from a Dragon King’s Palace at the bottom of the sea. Below is the original script to accompany the illustration:
Octopus: Wondering when, when to do the abduction, but today is the day. At last she’s captured. Even so, this is a plump, good pussy…
Diver: The hateful octopus fu, fu, fu, fu…rather aa, aa…sucking on the surface of the inner mouth of my womb until I’m breathless, aa, ee, I’m coming!…
Octopus: Zuu, zuu, zuu, zuu, hicha-hicha, gucha-gucha, jutsu, chu, chu, chu, chu, guu, guu, zuu, zuu
Diver: Say! How about, how about the feeling of being entwined by eight legs! Oh, oh, it’s swelling inside, aa, aa…
(Translated by Danielle Talerico)
Shunga translates into the Chinese term Spring Pictures and is the name given to erotic Japanese paintings, prints and illustrations. Explicit, they are, but they are also beautiful, intricately detailed, vibrant and humorous. The illustrations often depicted fertility rites, the joyful union of couples, homosexuality, sexual mythology and good sex practice — a sex almanac if you will, similar to that of The Karma Sutra. It was common practice to give them to another as a gift, especially to brides on their wedding night. This should reveal much about Japanese attitudes to sex in the seventeenth century.
- 7th century Earliest Shunga appeared as graffiti hidden on buddhist statues
- 8th century Sophisticated sex manuals
- 12th century + Shunga emaki (hand scrolls) became an established art-form among the priesthood, aristocracy and samurai classes.
- 17th century The spread of wood block printing helped to make erotic art more accessible and popular with city merchants.
- 1660 First dated Shunga publication, a printed book published in Edo. At this time Shunga was also an accepted part of the Ukiyo-e artists from the earliest period of the school. Erotic work sometimes amounted to one-fith of an artists total output.
- 1765 With the development of full-colour printing Shunga peaked with artists such as Harunobu, Koryūsai and Kitagawa Utamaro.
- 19th century Other notable erotic artists include Hokusai. However, westernisation of Japanese culture brought prudish Victorian values, and it is only in recent years following the relaxation of strict censorship that there has been a revival and appreciation of Shunga as an art form.
(Bullet pointed facts taken from The British Museum)
Exhibiting at The British Museum from 3 October 2013 — 5 January 2015
N.B gallery contains explicit sexual content.