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Art Review: Shunga: sex and pleasure in Japanese art

British Museum, London

What is it? Works of a sexually explicit, unabashedly joyous nature, made by respected Japanese artists from 1600 to 1900.

The Independent says: “Can hardcore pornography ever be considered art? Not in the West ... [but] In Asia, it’s been a quite different matter … in Japan, [a] genre of explicit depictions of sexual congress termed Shunga flourished first in painted scrolls then in woodblock reproduction … other countries may have produced as explicit an imagery, but none on this scale or at this level of artistic refinement ... it’s time to give Shunga its due.”

They say: Daily Mail: “Shunga is far from crude modern depictions of sex. Most of the images, although explicit, are loving – even tender – and show the pleasure being shared out between men and women in equal measure.”

Huffington Post: “Katsushika Hokusai … famously depicted a titillating love scene between a few octupi and a satisfied-looking human being. The masterpiece swiftly and simultaneously brought full frontal nudity, bestiality, and female orgasm to the forefront of fine art.”

You say: @LucyTheobald: “Really interesting to see attitudes to sex in pre westernised Japan.”

Details: to 5 Jan; britishmuseum.org