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Erotica in Japanese Prints

October 11, 2002 - October 11, 2002

Erotic prints, known as shunga or “spring pictures,” were an acceptable subject in Japan’s Edo society until the second half of the 19th century when the influence of Western puritanism began to influence popular opinion against them. Shunga are an integral part of the ukiyo-e tradition. To omit these examples of shunga from a survey of Japanese prints would be a technical error, even though their inclusion is bound to offend many people.

Shunga scenes varied from the first tender advances of young love to the brutal violations of dark and terrible debauchery. Shunga undoubtedly served several purposes, from helping to train inexperienced courtesans, to arousing prospective clients and in some cases, educating newlyweds.

Due to the X-rated nature of this exhibition, some visitors may be offended. A wall will shield Erotica in Japanese Prints from those who do not wish to see it.

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