The Art of Love: Shunga for Valentine Day: Shunga, or as literally translated “Spring Pictures” are a genre of woodblock prints that depict the entire gamut of sensual pleasures. They are priced from $45 to $100 for this special ‘holiday of love’.
To fully understand the unabashed nature of shunga, it is helpful to understand the society which inspired and nurtured it---a pleasure bent culture of Edo's notorious demi-monde. In its heyday this culture had engendered a fabulous city of pleasure unmatched by any in the West---the legendary Yoshiwara. Within the confines of its sumptuous quarters, courtesans of stunning beauty elevated the gratification of physical desire to an art. The shunga print an expression of this hedonism, and as such, mirrored an endless range of physical passions. Yet, although shunga fulfilled a major purpose in the Yoshiwara, serving to train young courtesans as well as to arouse prospective clients, it also played a central role in the education of newlyweds. In many families it was the custom to give brides shunga albums, or "pillow books" that were treasured by each generation. Aside from its practical usefulness, shunga was also valued for its beauty and is technically and historically an integral part of ukiyo-e. Most shunga were not signed therefore the name of the artist is attributed.(Please note that many of the prints are explicit)