Japanese erotic art, shunga, has a long history, with thousands of paintings, prints, and illustrated books produced, mostly from the seventeenth to late nineteenth centuries. Shunga literally means “picture of spring”—“spring” being a common Japanese euphemism for sex—and the works celebrate all facets of human sexuality with great candor.
Unlike earlier books that have tended to focus on individual artists, this new publication has a thematic structure, covering the whole spectrum of sexual practice and expression, including adultery and jealousy, voyeurism, orgasm, and violent sex and death. Using images from his own unparalleled collection, Ofer Shagan brings the rich and vast world of shunga to modern view, highlighting the messages, symbols, and humor that often appear in the background but are fundamentally significant for understanding the messages in the art.
Ofer Shagan has lived in Japan for many years. He is the author of several books and articles on shunga and other art subjects.