In the Western tradition, the idealized nude and—more explicitly—sex have long been sticking points in artistic discourse across generations—controversial for their beauty on the one hand, and its supposedly sinful nature on the other.
In stark contrast, Japanese erotica in paintings and prints have held a ubiquitous position in society, starting with the Heian aristocracy of the ninth century and trickling down to a rising, modern urban middle class.
While styles have changed over the centuries, these works are connected by a shared celebration of life’s fleeting, earthly pleasures under the term ukiyo-e, or the Floating World.
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