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Shunga (春画) is a Japanese term for erotic art. Most shunga are a type of ukiyo-e, usually executed in woodblock print format. While rare, there are extant erotic painted handscrolls which predate the Ukiyo-e movement. Translated literally, the Japanese word shunga means picture of spring; "spring" is a common euphemism for sex.

The ukiyo-e movement as a whole sought to express an idealisation of contemporary urban life. Following the aesthetics of everyday life, Edo period shunga sought to express the sexual mores of the chonin in the widest variety of forms possible, and therefore depicted heteroseual and homosexual, old and young alike, as well as a wide range of fetises. In the Edo period it was enjoyed by rich and poor, men and women, and despite being out of favour with the shogunate, carried very little stigma. Almost all ukiyo-e artists made shunga at some point in their careers, and it did not detract from their prestige as artists. Classifying shunga as a kind of medieval pornography can be misleading in this respect.

 
 

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