Re: erotic(?) prints

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Posted by Gerry Lennox on March 24, 1999 at 21:11:17:

In Reply to: erotic(?) prints posted by J Kano on May 16, 1998 at 22:52:41:

: A few years back, I acquired, lent, and lost, a fat book (Floating World of...) which contains some reproductions of erotic(?) woodblock prints.

: Is the subject taboo in this forum?
: Are the prints/reproductions avaiable on line?
: Were they intended to be erotic, humorous, or both?

* I too have been trying to find some information regarding Shunga. I am writing a university research paper on the origins, meaning, and reaction to the history of sexual imagery. I do know that Shunga is prone to exaggeration. The men are always depicted with humungous penises (sometimes as thick as thier waists), but that the women also have disproportianately large vaginas (which seem to easily surround the giant penises). The figures tend to sit in positions that are nearly physically impossible (and in fact, make the positions in the Kama Sutra look simple).
As for the acceptability of these pictures, there lies some complication. Shinto texts are full of overt sexual imagery and metaphor. Ozana-gi (I think I have the right deity) carries a long spear, the blade of which is likened to the head of the penis. When he stirs it in the ocean with Ozana-mi, the drops that fall from the tip of the spear create the 8 Great Islands of the Earth (Japan). The shunga images make very clear depictions of sexual penetration, but there was some sort of new law introduced during the 19th Century (I think) in which such depictions were considered obscene. That law still has some weight today. If you look at Hentai, there are many graphic scenes of sexually suggestive behaviour, but you don't see penetration, and in fact, you don't see genetalia. None. There seems to be some more current Hentai being exported to North America, or possibly created in North America, in which there is genitalia, and full penetration is depicted. Either laws in Japan are laxing (possibly just in regards to exported goods) or, there is a North American based Hentai market.
As Mr. Illing stated, the information is hard to attain, and the majority of Japanese Art History books tend to either skirt around, or ignore the topic completely.
If anyone has any more information, or can correct any mistakes I have made, please post them, and or email them to my hotmail account.

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