This book is as ambitious and enjoyable as the British Museum’s exhibition itself, and both have set the standard for this subject for years to come.
    Japan Times

    An estimable work of scholarship.
    London Evening Standard

    Shunga: sex and pleasure in Japanese art

    SKU: cmc24766

    £40.00 Members' price *


    The accompanying title to the British Museum exhibition Shunga: sex and pleasure in Japanese art, available at the special Museum price of £40.00 (RRP £50.00).

    About Shunga

    In early modern Japan, thousands of sexually explicit paintings, prints, and illustrated books with texts were produced. These were euphemistically called ‘spring pictures’ (shunga).

    Frequently tender, funny and beautiful, shunga were mostly done within the popular art school known as ‘pictures of the floating world’ (ukiyo-e), by celebrated artists such as Utamaro and Hokusai.

    Shunga is in some ways a unique phenomenon in pre- modern world culture, in terms of the quantity, the quality and the nature of the art that was produced.

    About this title

    This hardback catalogue, published to accompany a major international exhibition, aims to answer some key questions about what is shunga and why it was produced. In particular the social and cultural contexts for sex art in Japan are explored.

    Erotic Japanese art was heavily suppressed in Japan from the 1870s onwards as part of a process of cultural ‘modernisation’ that imported many contemporary western moral values. Only in the last twenty years or so has it been possible to publish unexpurgated examples in Japan and this landmark book places erotic Japanese art in its historical and cultural context for the first time.

    Drawing on the latest scholarship and featuring over 400 images of works from major public and private collections, this important book looks at painted and printed erotic images produced in Japan during the Edo period (1600–1868) and early Meiji era (1868–1912). These are related to the wider contexts of literature, theatre, the culture of the pleasure quarters, and urban consumerism; and interpreted in terms of their sensuality, reverence, humour and parody.

    Edited by:

    Timothy Clark is Head of the Japanese Section at the British Museum, London.

    C. Andrew Gerstle is Head of the Department of Japan and Korea and Professor of Japanese studies at SOAS, University of London.

    Aki Ishigami is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Kinugasa Research Organization, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto.

    Akiko Yano is Leverhulme Research Fellow in the Department of Japan and Korea at SOAS, University of London.


    Product code: cmc24766
    Details: Accompanies the Museum exhibition of the same name
    Exhibition: Shunga
    World culture: Japan
    Title: Shunga
    Subtitle: sex and pleasure in Japanese art
    Edited by: Timothy Clark, C. Andrew Gerstle, Aki Ishigami and Akiko Yano
    ISBN: 978 0 7141 2476 6
    Format: Hardback (clothbound)
    Number of pages: 560 pages
    Size: 28.9cm x 24.5cm
    llustrations: 420 colour illustrations
    Publication date: September 2013
    Weight: 1.8kg
    Standard UK delivery: 5 working days. Overseas times may vary

    Every purchase supports the Museum

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