Discover Japanese art like no other. Originally created by the artists of the ukiyo-e school of the floating world to advertise brothels in 17th-century Yoshiwara, these popular spring pictures (shunga) transcended class and gender in Japan for almost 300 years. These tender, humorous and brightly coloured pieces celebrate sexual pleasure in all its forms, culminating in the beautiful, yet graphic, work of iconic artists Utamaro, Hokusai and Kunisada. This catalogue of a major international exhibition aims to answer some key questions about what shunga is and why was it produced. Erotic Japanese art was heavily suppressed in Japan from the 1870s onwards as part of a process of cultural modernisation that imported many contemporary western moral values. Only in the last twenty years or so has it been possible to publish unexpurgated examples in Japan and this ground-breaking publication presents this fascinating art in its historical and cultural context for the first time. Within Japan, shunga has continued to influence modern forms of art, including manga, anime and Japanese tattoo art. Drawing on the latest scholarship and featuring over 400 images of works from major public and private collections, this landmark book sheds new light on this unique art form within Japanese social and cultural history. Shunga: sex and pleasure in Japanese art is published to accompany an exhibition at the British Museum from October 2013 to January 2014.
Japan’s Sexual Gods is an exciting original work about the deities represented by phalluses and female sexual objects in Japanese shrines. Their roles in procreation and protection, their rituals and festivals are described in detail along with unique location photographs.
Women, Gender and Art in Asia, c. 1500?1900 brings women's engagements with art into a pan-Asian dialogue with essays that examine women as artists, commissioners, collectors, and subjects from India, Southeast Asia, Tibet, China, Korea, and Japan, from the sixteenth to the early twentieth century. The artistic media includes painting, sculpture, architecture, textiles, and photography. The book is broadly concerned with four salient questions: How unusual was it for women to engage directly with art? What factors precluded more women from doing so? In what ways did women's artwork or commissions differ from those of men? And, what were the range of meanings for woman as subject matter? The chapters deal with historic individuals about whom there is considerable biographical information. Beyond locating these uncommon women within their socio-cultural milieux, contributors consider the multiple strands that twined to comprise their complex identities, and how these impacted their works of art. In many cases, the woman's status-as wife, mother, widow, ruler, or concubine (and multiple combinations thereof), as well as her religion and lineage-determined the media, style, and content of her art. Women, Gender and Art in Asia, c. 1500?1900 adds to our understanding of works of art, their meanings, and functions.
This book offers an interdisciplinary analysis of the social practice of taste in the wake of Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology of taste. For the first time, this book unites sociologists and other social scientists with artists and curators, art theorists and art educators, and art, design and cultural historians who engage with the practice of taste as it relates to encounters with art, cultural institutions and the practices of everyday life, in national and transnational contexts. The volume is divided into four sections. The first section on ‘Taste and art’, shows how art practice was drawn into the sphere of ‘good taste’, contrasting this with a post-conceptualist critique that offers a challenge to the social functions of good taste through an encounter with art. The next section on ‘Taste making and the museum’ examines the challenges and changing social, political and organisational dynamics propelling museums beyond the terms of a supposedly universal institution and language of taste. The third section of the book, ‘Taste after Bourdieu in Japan’ offers a case study of the challenges to the cross-cultural transmission and local reproduction of ‘good taste’, exemplified by the complex cultural context of Japan. The final section on ‘Taste, the home and everyday life’ juxtaposes the analysis of the reproduction of inequality and alienation through taste, with arguments on how the legacy of ideas of ‘good taste’ have extended the possibilities of experience and sharpened our consciousness of identity. As the first book to bring together arts practitioners and theorists with sociologists and other social scientists to examine the legacy and continuing validity of Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology of taste, this publication engages with the opportunities and problems involved in understanding the social value and the cultural dispositions of taste ‘after Bourdieu’. It does so at a moment when the practice of taste is being radically changed by the global expansion of cultural choices, and the emergence of deploying impersonal algorithms as solutions to cultural and creative decision-making.
Four case studies give evidence of what constituted modes of collaboration among artistic producers in the period. In each case Davis explores a different configuration of collaboration: that between a teacher and a student, two painters and their publishers, a designer and a publisher, and a writer and an illustrator. Each investigates a mode of partnership through a single work: a specially commissioned print, a lavishly illustrated album, a printed handscroll, and an inexpensive illustrated novel. These case studies explore the diversity of printed things in the period ranging from expensive works made for a select circle of connoisseurs to those meant to be sold at a modest price to a large audience.
Much has been written on Japanese woodblock prints, book illustrations and paintings of the Edo period known as Ukiyo-e, but often neglected in any discussion of this rich artistic tradition is the genre of erotic imagery. Many celebrated Ukiyo-e artists such as Suzuki Harunobu (1725?-70), Isoda Koryusai (1735-90), Torii Kiyonaga (1752-1815), Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), Keisai Eisen (1790-1848) and Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865) created significant numbers of sexually explicit compositions that are today collectively referred to as shunga, or 'spring pictures'. As objects deemed injurious to public morals, shunga were banned by the Tokugawa government. Faced with the challenges of working in an illegal genre and the demand for shunga by a voracious public, shunga artists exhibited an innovativeness and creativity in their work that would be remarkable in any age.