The night of longing: Love and desire in Japanese prints
1 Oct 2013 – 12 Feb 2014
Free to all
Looking at love and desire in 18th and 19th century Japan, the exhibition includes rare prints and woodcuts from the Edo and Meiji periods.
This exhibition is designed to compliment a major survey of Shunga art at the British Museum this autumn. Drawn from the Fitzwilliam's collection, the prints on display explore themes of desire; from images of lovers expressing their longing in letters and poems, to sexual images in erotic books.
Some of the greatest artists of the era are represented, including Kitagawa Utamaro, Hokusai and Hiroshige.
A newly acquired and incredibly rare erotic book is one particular highlight of the display. Its hero, Mitsuuji, is a drop-dead gorgeous heart-throb with a string of lovers who uses his philandering reputation as a cover for his investigations into the theft of precious heirlooms.
The book was inspired by the Japanese version of The Tales of Genji, known as the Rustic Genji, which was popular in the 19th century but this version shows sex scenes that were only hinted at in the original.