Public Lecture: Ellis Tinios

The Erotic Art of Japan’s Ukiyo‑e Masters in a Comparative Context

All of Japan’s great “floating world” (ukiyo-e) print artists—Moronobu, Sukenobu, Masanobu, Harunobu, Kiyonaga, Utamaro, Hokusai, Eisen, Kunisada, Kuniyoshi and Hiroshige—openly engaged in the production of sexually explicit art that celebrated “the way of love.” They imbued their numerous erotic works with humor and joy, visually affirming the conviction that “making love is the prime glory and height of pleasure.” Only recently have scholars begun to explore this facet of “floating-world pictures.” In this lecture, Dr. Ellis Tinios offers comparisons with European erotic art to highlight distinctive aspects of Japanese attitudes toward sex and the representation of the human body in the Edo period (1603–1868).

This event is sponsored in part by Gwen and Henry Baker and


Dr. Ellis Tinios, University of Leeds, England

Dr Tinios lives in the UK. He is a Research Associate of the Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto and Special Assistant to the Japanese Section at the British Museum. He is author of Understanding Japanese woodblock-printed illustrated books with Prof Suzuki Jun (Brill) and Japanese Prints: Ukiyo-e in Edo (British Museum Press). He also contributed to the 2013 British Museum exhibition catalogue Shunga: Sex and Humour in Edo Japan.

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