25 May 2016

Poem Of The Pillow & Other Stories

Poem Of The Pillow & Other Stories
Poem Of The Pillow & Other Stories is an anthology of shunga, a genre of erotic ukiyo-e woodblock prints. Poem Of The Pillow is a translation of Kitagawa Utamaro's Utamakura, "the most famous erotic album in the history of Japanese art". The collection was compiled by Gian Carlo Calza (who edited a recent monograph on Katsushika Hokusai) and published by Phaidon.

The book is significant because it reprints each of the selected shunga works in full. Thus, all twelve sheets of Utamakura (1788) are included, along with others including Torii Kiyonaga's equally acclaimed Sode No Maki (1785; also a dozen sheets). There is also a useful glossary and an extensive bibliography.

The British Museum's Shunga exhibition catalogue (2013) is the most comprehensive survey of shunga. The first academic study of the subject was Sex & The Floating World (1999) by Timon Screech. Images From The Floating World (1978), the classic study of ukiyo-e prints by Richard Lane, includes several examples of shunga.