Shunga is a generic Japanese term for erotic art, though is most commonly associated with the explosion of erotic woodblock prints during the Edo period (1603 - 1868). Early shunga (literally "spring pictures," spring being a euphemism for sex) dates the Heiain period (794 to 1185), when erotic paintings were made for members of the royal family and court. The Edo period witnessed numerous changes in Japanese society, including the rise of a stable merchant class, based in cities and towns throughout the country.
The period also saw the advent of woodblock prints, an early form of mass media. Artists carved images in wood and printed them on paper by filling the carvings with ink. Images like Katsushika Hokusai's famous The Great Wave off Kanagawa could, therefore, be printed and sold in editions of hundreds, rather than preserved and venerated in a museum as a single piece. Woodblock prints put art in an interesting place, allowing it to be high brow and base, refined and vulgar at the same time. What better way to celebrate the undermining of traditional assumptions about art than the proliferation of porn?
Erotic Japanese art existed to titillate samurai and house wives alike. Sex acts depicted in erotic Japanese shunga run a wide gamut, from emotional heteronormative lovemaking to cunilingus-by-octopus, graphic intergenerational man-on-man action, and suggestive Sapphic scenes. Suffice it to say, this collection of sexually explicit shunga is NSWF as all get out. Sit back, relax, and get ready for saucy Japanese woodblock prints.