School of Arts

Colloquium: Shunga & Philosophy

Thursday 19 December

Posted on 2nd December 2013

Colloquium: Shunga & Philosophy

Thursday 19 December
Stevenson Lecture Theatre, British Museum
Free admission, limited seating

In early modern Japan, thousands of sexually explicit paintings, prints, and illustrated books with texts were produced, euphemistically called 'spring pictures' (shunga). Frequently tender, funny and beautiful, shunga were mostly done within the popular school known as 'pictures of the floating world' (ukiyo-e), by celebrated artists such as Utamaro and Hokusai. This colloquium aims to answer some key philosophical questions about the nature of shunga and how its ethical and artistic value is best understood.

Includes content of a sexually explicit nature. Parental guidance advised for under 16s.

Speakers include: Prof. David Davies (McGill University), Dr. Emily Caddick (Cambridge University), Dr. Simon Fokt (University of St Andrews), Dr. Hans Maes (University of Kent), Dr. Petra van Brabandt (St Lucas Antwerp), Louise Boyd (University of Glasgow).

The colloquium is organised by the Aesthetics Research Centre at the University of Kent, the British Museum, and SOAS, University of London. It is supported by the Kent Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities

A detailed programme is available here

Flyer available here (pdf)

For more information, please contact the organiser Hans Maes (

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Last Updated: 30/04/2015