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There has been a long tradition of erotic painting in the East. Japan, China, India, Persia and other lands produced copious quantities of art celebrating the human faculty of love. The works depict love between men and women as well as same-sex love. In Japan, the erotic art found its greatest flowering in the medium of the woodblock prints. The style is known as shunga (??, pictures of spring?) and some of its classic practitioners (e.g. Harunobu, Utamaro) produced a large number of works. Painted hand scrolls were also very popular. Shunga appeared in the 13th century and continued to grow in popularity despite occasional attempts to suppress them, the first of which was a ban on erotic books known as k?shokubon ( ???, k?shokubon?) issued by the Tokugawa shogunate in Ky?h? 7 (1722). Shunga only ceased to be produced in the 19th century when photography was invented black gay boys.[1][14]

The Chinese tradition of the erotic was also extensive, with examples of the art dating back as far as the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368). The erotic art of China reached its peak during the latter part of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644).[1][15]

For more details on History of pornography in Japan, see Pornography in Japan#History.

In both China and Japan, eroticism played a prominent role in the development of the novel. The Tale of Genji, the work by an 11th-century Japanese noblewoman that is often called “the world’s first novel,” traces the many affairs of its hero in discreet but carnal language. [16] From 16th-century China, the still more explicit novel The Plum in the Golden Vase has been called one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature. The Tale of Genji has been celebrated in Japan since it was written, but The Plum in the Golden Vase was suppressed as pornography for much of its history, and replaced on the list of four classics. [17]

Erotic scenes in medieval illuminated manuscripts were also common but meant only for those who could afford the extremely expensive hand made books. Most of these drawings occur in the margins of books of hours. Many medieval scholars think that the pictures satisfied the medieval cravings for both erotic pictures and religion in one book, especially since it was often the only book someone owned. Other scholars think the drawings in the margins were a kind of moral caution, but the depiction of priests and other ranking officials engaged in sex acts suggests political origins as well.[3]

It was not until the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg that sexually explicit images entered into any type of mass circulation in the western world. Before that time, erotic images, being hand made and expensive, were limited to upper class males who deliberately kept them away from the labouring class, fearing the effect such things would have on the animal lust of the uneducated. Even the British Museum had a Secretum filled with a collection of ancient erotica donated by the upper class doctor, George Witt in 1865. The remains of the collection, including his scrapbooks, still reside in Cupboard 55, though the majority of it has recently been integrated with the museum's other collections.[18]

[edit] Beginnings of mass circulation

[edit] Printing

See also: Erotic literature and I Modi

Erotic engraving supposedly after Agostino Carracci (1557–1602)
Erotic engraving supposedly after black gay boys Agostino Carracci (1557–1602)

In the 16th century an attempt to print erotic material caused a scandal when Italians Pietro Aretino and Marcantonio Raimondi produced the I Modi in 1524, an illustrated book of 16 "postures" or sexual positions. Raimondi had actually published the I Modi once before, and was subsequently imprisoned by the Pope Clement VII and all copies of the illustrations were destroyed. Raimondi based the engravings on a series of erotic paintings that Giulio Romano was doing as a commission for the Palazzo del Te in Mantua. Though the two depictions were very similar, only Raimondi was prosecuted because his engravings were capable of being seen by the public. Romano did not know of the engravings until Aretino came to see the original paintings while Romano was still working on them. Aretino then composed sixteen explicit sonnets ("both in your pussy and your behind, my cock will make me happy, and you happy and blissful")[3][19] to go with the paintings and secured Raimondi's release from prison. The I Modi was then published a second time, with the poems and the pictures, making this the first time erotic text and images were combined, though the papacy once more seized all the copies it could find. Raimondi escaped prison that time, but the censorship was so complete that no original copies have ever been found. The text in existence is only a copy of a copy that was discovered 400 years later.[3][19]

In the 17th century, numerous examples of pornographic or erotic literature began to circulate, mostly printed in Amsterdam, and smuggled into European states. These included L'Ecole des Filles, a French work printed in 1655 that is considered to be the beginnings of pornography in France. It consists of an illustrated dialogue between two women, a 16-year-old and her more worldly cousin, and their explicit discussions about sex. The author remains anonymous to this day, though a few suspected authors served light prison sentences for supposed authorship of the work.[20] In his famous diary, Samuel Pepys records purchasing a copy for solitary reading and then burning it so that it would not be discovered by his wife; "the idle roguish book, L'escholle de filles; which I have bought in plain binding… because I resolve, as soon as I have read it, to burn it."[21]
Illustration from Juliette by the black gay boys Marquis de Sade
Illustration from Juliette by the Marquis de Sade

During the Enlightenment, many of the French free-thinkers began to exploit pornography as a medium of social criticism and satire. Libertine pornography was a subversive social commentary and often targeted the Catholic Church and general attitudes of sexual repression. The market for the mass-produced, inexpensive pamphlets soon became the bourgeoisie, making the upper class worry, as in England, that the morals of the lower class and weak-minded would be corrupted since women, slaves and the uneducated were seen as especially vulnerable during that time. The stories and illustrations (sold in the galleries of the Palais Royal, along with services of prostitutes) were often anti-clerical and full of misbehaving priests, monks and nuns, a tradition that in French pornography continued into the 20th century. In the period leading up to the French Revolution, pornography was also used as political commentary; Marie Antoinette was often targeted with fantasies involving orgies, lesbian activities and the paternity of her children, and rumors circulated about the supposed sexual inadequacies of Louis XVI.[20][22] During and after the Revolution, the famous works of the Marquis de Sade were printed. They were often accompanied by illustrations and served as political commentary for their author.[23]

The English answer to this was Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (later abridged and renamed Fanny Hill) written in 1748 by John Cleland. While the text satirised the literary conventions and fashionable manners of 18th century England, it was more scandalous for depicting a woman, the narrator, enjoying and even reveling in sexual acts with no dire moral or physical consequences. The text is hardly explicit as Cleland wrote the entire book using euphemisms for sex acts and body parts, employing 50 different ones just for the term penis. Two small earthquakes were credited to the book by the Bishop of London and Cleland was arrested and briefly imprisoned, but Fanny Hill continued to be published and is one of the most reprinted books in the English language. However, it was not legal to own this book in the United States until 1963 and in the United Kingdom until 1970.[24]

[edit] Photography black gay boys

For more details on this topic, see History of erotic photography.

19th-century nude photograph
19th-century nude photograph

In 1839, Louis-Jacques-Mand? Daguerre presented the first practical process of photography to the French Academy of Sciences.[25] Unlike earlier photographic methods, his daguerreotypes had stunning quality and detail and did not fade with time. The new technology did not go unnoticed by artists eager for new ways to depict the undraped feminine form. Traditionally, an acad?mie was a nude study done by a painter to master the female (or male) form. Each had to be registered with the French government and approved or they could not be sold. Soon, nude photographs were being registered as acad?mie and marketed as aids to painters. However, the realism of a photograph as opposed to the idealism of a painting made many of these intrinsically erotic. In Nude photography, 1840–1920, Peter Marshall notes: "In the prevailing moral climate at the time of the invention of photography, the only officially sanctioned photography of the body was for the production of artist's studies. Many of the surviving examples of daguerreotypes are clearly not in this genre but have a sensuality that clearly implies they were designed as erotic or pornographic images."[3][26]

The daguerreotypes were not without drawbacks, however. The main difficulty was that they could only be reproduced by photographing the original picture since each image was an original and the all metal process does not use negatives. In addition, the earliest daguerreotypes had exposure times ranging from three to fifteen minutes, making them somewhat impractical for portraiture. Unlike earlier drawings, action could not be shown. The poses that the models struck had to be held very still for a long time. Because of this, the standard pornographic image shifted from one of two or more people engaged in sex acts to a solitary woman exposing her genitals. Since one picture could cost a week's salary, the audience for these nudes mostly consisted of artists and the upper echelon of society. It was cheaper to hire a prostitute and experience the sex acts than it was to own a picture of them in the 1840s.[3] Stereoscopy was invented in 1838 and became extremely popular for daguerreotypes, including the erotic images. This technology produced a type of three dimensional view that suited erotic images quite well.[27] Although thousands of erotic daguerreotypes were created, only around 800 are known to survive; however, their uniqueness and expense meant that they were once the toys of rich men. Due to their rarity, the works can sell for more than black gay boys 10,000 GBP.[3]

In 1841, William Fox Talbot patented the calotype process, the first negative-positive process, making possible multiple copies.[28] This invention permitted an almost limitless number of prints to be produced from a glass negative. Also, the reduction in exposure time made a true mass market for pornographic pictures possible. The technology was immediately employed to reproduce nude portraits. Paris soon became the centre of this trade. In 1848 only thirteen photography studios existed in Paris; by 1860, there were over 400. Most of them profited by selling illicit pornography to the masses who could now afford it. The pictures were also sold near train stations, by traveling salesmen and women in the streets who hid them under their dresses. They were often produced in sets (of four, eight or twelve), and exported internationally, mainly to England and the United States. Both the models and the photographers were commonly from the working class, and the artistic model excuse was increasingly hard to use. By 1855, no more photographic nudes were being registered as acad?mie, and the business had gone underground to escape prosecution.[3]
Eadweard Muybridge: Woman walking with fishing pole (detail)
Eadweard Muybridge: Woman walking with fishing pole (detail)

The Victorian pornographic tradition in Britain had three main elements: French photographs, erotic prints (sold in shops in Holywell Street, a long vanished London thoroughfare, swept away by the Aldwych), and printed literature. The ability to reproduce photographs in bulk assisted the rise of a new business individual, the porn dealer. Many of these dealers took advantage of the postal system to send out photographic cards in plain wrappings to their subscribers. Therefore, the development of a reliable international postal system facilitated the beginnings of the pornography trade. Victorian pornography had several defining characteristics. It reflected a very mechanistic view of the human anatomy and its functions. Science, the new obsession, was used to ostensibly study the human body. Consequently, the sexuality of the subject is often depersonalised, and is without any passion or tenderness. At this time, it also became popular to depict nude photographs of women of exotic ethnicities, under the umbrella of science. Studies of this type can be found in the work of Eadweard Muybridge. Although he photographed both men and women, the women were often given props like market baskets and fishing poles, making the images of women thinly disguised black gay boys erotica.[3]

[edit] Magazines

For more details on this topic, see Pornographic magazine.

The first issue of Playboy
The first issue of Playboy

In 1880, halftone printing was used to reproduce photographs inexpensively for the first time.[25] The invention of halftone printing took pornography and erotica in new directions at the beginning of the 20th century. The new printing processes allowed photographic images to be reproduced easily in black and white, whereas printers were previously limited to engravings, woodcuts and line cuts for illustrations.[29] This was the first format that allowed pornography to become a mass market phenomena, it now being more affordable and more easily acquired than any previous form.[3]

First appearing in France, the new magazines featured nude (often, burlesque actresses were hired as models) and semi-nude photographs on the cover and throughout; while these would now be termed softcore, they were quite shocking for the time. The publications black gay boys soon either masqueraded as "art magazines" or publications celebrating the new cult of naturism, with titles such as Photo Bits, Body in Art, Figure Photography, Nude Living and Modern Art for Men.[3] Health and Efficiency, started in 1900, was a typical naturist magazine in Britain. [30]