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Shunga Exhibition

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art

With all the anime and manga about, the idea of sex and pornography in Japanese art is nothing particularly unusual, but the Shunga exhibition coming to the British Museum on the 3rd October is about as far removed from Sailor Moon and school girls in short skirts as you can get.

The term 'Shunga' literally means 'picture of spring', and is a form of erotic Japanese art, which is printed on woodblocks. It is a movement that is said to have been influenced by ancient Chinese medicine manuals because of their tendency to exaggerate the genital organs. The style reached its peak during the Edo Period, which was between 1603-1867; it is this period that the British Museum will be focussing on. Tender, humorous, and beautifully detailed, Shunga appealed to all classes and genders for about three hundred years, until banned in the 20th century. But now all the prudes are gone, society can enjoy the art form once more. Tickets to the exhibit are 7 for adults, 5 students, and free for under 16s.

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Why? Fun for art lovers
When: 3rd Oct - 5th Jan
Phone: 44 (0)20 7323 8181
Where: British Museum
Cost: 7 adult, 5 students, under 16s free
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