This book presents the Japanese art of Shunga and Bijinga from the mid 1700s to the mid 1950s. Shunga is Japanese for 'spring pictures' but means 'erotic art'. The translation of Bijinga is 'pictures of beautiful people' meaning women, commonly referred to as 'beauties'. There is a link between them, as both are sexual in nature, with many pictures being of courtesans, or women as subjects of desire. But there is a lot more to it than that
This is not an academic book but more a personal journey of discovery by an accidental collector of Japanese woodblock prints. Bob Bentley informs, entertains and hopefully inspires like-minded fellow travelers embarking on similar explorations. The illustrations show a fascinating culture which thrived in the period when Japan was isolated from the rest of the world up to a time when the style and beauty of its art eventually exploded into the Western imagination.
Bob has acquired a number of rare and original prints, as well as the more affordable, including re-prints, some almost as wonderful. The book is based purely on his collection - with delicate prints reproduced in high quality - imperfections and all. Many are exquisite works of art.
This is a demonstration of the art that many people can acquire - at one level or another. Although there may be several hand made prints available of the same image, no two are identical. In buying prudently, you will see how it is possible to enjoy originals of the greatest artists, alongside beautifully crafted reprints.
Here is a real passion, expressed in clear language, demystifying a culture that has provided the world with some of the most glorious art that has ever been seen.