(NSFW) 15 Sensuous Shunga Tattoos

jentheripper in NSFW

Let's keep exploring the influence of Japanese art in modern tattoo. After the sumi-e tattoos, a less innocent theme, the shunga tattoos.

During the Edo era (from 1603 to 1868), the middle class of Japan, called chônin, gained in power and influence, replacing the past austerity with a more refined way of life, where the wealthier of them spent their time in theaters and houses of pleasure. Physical appearance started getting more important, and Japanese art started to celebrate the sensual beauty of the women. The Japanese art of this time, the ukiyo-e prints, were a representation of this hedonistic philosophy, where life needed to be lived at its fullest, and the pleasures of the flesh were not a taboo or a shame anymore. Two subgroups of ukiyo-e ("images of the floating world" in Japanese) were created: first, the bijinga, "beautiful women", portraits of heroines of traditional tales with a great beauty, shown in their intimacy.

The art of shibari or kinbaku (first a way to tie up parcels, then women...) was also used in these illustrations. A second type of erotic drawings was called shunga, "spring images", because as you know, spring is the season of love in Nature. Shunga prints are showing couples of tales' heroes caught having sex, but also expressions of dreams and fantasies often wild, with zoophilia and creepy creatures with crude genital heads. Shunga was an artistic release in the elegant, yet closed society of Edo era's Japan, and many great masters of Japanese painting are also famous for their erotic art, such as Hiroshige and Hokusai (especially his Dream of the Fisherman's Wife). Shunga can be sometimes indecent, but often creative and aesthetically pleasing and they were soon secretly collected by the prudish westerners and art lovers. Now, the influence of shunga is still visible, in Japanese art first (think about erotic mangas), but also in wabori, the Japanese tattoo art, and indeed in contemporary tattoo and art worldwide.

Full shunga bodysuit by Japanese artists Gakkin and Gotch.
Full shunga bodysuit by Japanese artists Gakkin and Gotch.
Tattoo artist Dan Sinnes is famous for his genitalia shunga, with odd creatures and demons with coarse details.
Tattoo artist Dan Sinnes is famous for his genitalia shunga, with odd creatures and demons with coarse details.
A great composition in this shunga tattoo by Norte.
A great composition in this shunga tattoo by Norte.
A shibari bijinga by Alix Gé.
A shibari bijinga by Alix Gé.

Recent from NSFW

Half woman, half spider tattoo by Hiroshi Hirakawa.
Half woman, half spider tattoo by Hiroshi Hirakawa.
A huge sidepiece by Hirakawa too.
A huge sidepiece by Hirakawa too.
A copy of the famous print of Hokusai, The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife, inked by Stewart Robson.
A copy of the famous print of Hokusai, The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife, inked by Stewart Robson.
A modern shibari backpiece by Khan Tattoos.
A modern shibari backpiece by Khan Tattoos.
Another spider woman with shibari by London Slade.
Another spider woman with shibari by London Slade.
Shibari by Lupo Horiokami.
Shibari by Lupo Horiokami.
Another one by Marco of Aloha Tattoo.
Another one by Marco of Aloha Tattoo.
Close-up on a lady getting close with an octopus, by Michael Patrick.
Close-up on a lady getting close with an octopus, by Michael Patrick.
Two shunga tattoos hidden in a Japanese traditional yakuza bodysuit. Artist unknown, please tell us in comments.
Two shunga tattoos hidden in a Japanese traditional yakuza bodysuit. Artist unknown, please tell us in comments.
Mixing cultures: a miniature illustration of king and saint Louis of France and a geisha looking for curtural merger... by Mikael de Poissy.
Mixing cultures: a miniature illustration of king and saint Louis of France and a geisha looking for curtural merger... by Mikael de Poissy.
A modern version of the Dream of the Fisherman's Wife by Onnie Oleary.
A modern version of the Dream of the Fisherman's Wife by Onnie Oleary.
Bondage is the contemporary and Western version of shibari. Here a realistic tattoo by Valentina Ryabova.
Bondage is the contemporary and Western version of shibari. Here a realistic tattoo by Valentina Ryabova.
Linework tattoo by Ien Levin, showing that shunga hasn't finished to inspire art and tattoos yet.
Linework tattoo by Ien Levin, showing that shunga hasn't finished to inspire art and tattoos yet.

jentheripper

@JenTheRipper

Writer for art related medias. Fell in love with tattoo while researching for another passion, crime history. Travelling, admiring, sharing.

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