A number of sexually explicit Japanese prints are bound for Sotheby’s Hong Kong.
From July 18 until July 31, the x-rated images, on loan from the collection of antique dealer Uragami Mitsuru, will adorn the international auction house’s walls, presenting art lovers with a rare opportunity “to understand more about shunga as well as the general social and cultural perception of sexuality during the Endo period,” according to gallery director Angelika Li.
“Shunga” is a Japanese word for erotic art.
In terms of subject matter, shunga created during the Endo period (1603-1868) varies enormously, reflecting the protean, and often symbolic, nature of sexual desire during the age.
“The influence of Western ethics after the Meiji period meant that shunga came to be regarded, both socially and academically, as taboo,” collector Uragami Mitsuru explains.
However, following recent cultural re-evaluations, shunga has been repositioned as a serious art form worthy of solemn aesthetic consideration.
The exhibition has been deemed suitable for over 18s only…a rule that seems a bit mean, but is likely to reduce levels of giggling.
In exploring the (often complex) relationship between sex and society, the exhibition offers attendees a chance to view works by renowned artists Suzuki Harunobo (1724-1770), Katsukawa Shunsho (1726-1792) and Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849).