The Honolulu Museum of Art is holding a three-year exhibition of probably the most extensive collection of shunga or Japanese erotica. With works from the collection of Richard D. Lane and James A. Michener, the exhibit aims to bring attention to the importance of shunga as part of Japanese art history and a study into Japanese sexuality.
The first of three shows is entitled Arts of the Bedchamber: Japanese Sunga will open on November 23 and features over 90 woodblock prints, woodblock-printed books and paintings. The exhibit will focus on the early years of shunga in the 17th and 18th century, when artists primarily used the art form for social commentary, societal parody and how-to manuals for young recently wed couples. Some might also be surprised that well-known ukiyo-e artists like Harunobu and Utamaro created shunga. The artwork will also show that as early as then, Japanese society recognized and accepted at least three distinct genders and paved the way to the creation of its famed sex industry.
So more than just titillation, shunga played a crucial role in shaping The second series to be launched in November 2013 will focus on humor and parody in shunga while the culmination of the series in November 2014 will showcase erotic works from the 19th and 20th centuries.
[ via Hawaii News Now ]