岭南启示录 Apocalypse PRD – 春宫图 spring palace lust

When I was researching hell in Guangzhou in December last year, I picked up from the now-defunct but hitherto infamous super-pirate-DVD-apartment a documentary on Nobuyoshi Araki that became the 59-second shunga meets grindcore section Twelve Days of Sodom. I was really interested in finding a similar form of art, the Japanese Shunga from China, as it seemed if every Asian country from India to Thailand to Japan liked painting smut throughout the ages, so too should China. 不是!你说不对, seemed to be a common reply, which I interpreted as more a reflection on the limits of knowledge than statements of fact.

Like any search-engine, what I was seeking could only be found through asking the right questions, which is to say it was only when I discovered what I was looking for was called 春宫图 that I began to find what I was looking for, and indeed around the art scene here, everyone seems as familiar with it as Aubrey Beardsley is synonymous with decadence.

For a bit I had a feeling of being vindicated, that despite my stupidity and dark-ages approaches to research, I’d pulled something up that really had taken months to find, and was specifically the result of being in Guangzhou and talking face-to-face in my mediocre Putonghua. As for the art itself, the ones I’ve found so far, it’s very similar to both Japanese and Indian, though much more restrained than either, with out the graphic overload of Japan grotesqueness, nor the hallucinogenic Buddhist supernatural of India. As to what we do with it, I think nothing is left to the imagination.