Overreading Erotica

There’s a lot of presentist fallacies and overdrawn conclusions — just because a society has a reputation for sexual restraint doesn’t mean that it is and always was asexual — in this article [Thanks, sepoy, but I don’t do personal memes here] about sexual imagery in Korean artifacts and art, but it does have some images and facts which are potentially very interesting. Any suggestions for richer, better substantiated works or websites on Korean art (or sexuality and gender issues) which could put this stuff into proper context?


  1. If anyone wants a more academic look at an aspect of this subject and can read Korea I came across a book a while back entitled 한국의 성 숭배 문화 (‘Korea’s culture of sex worship’). Personally I’ve been suspicious for a while about the common view among Koreans that there is a dichotomy between Koreans and Japanese when it comes to attitudes to sex: Japanese have always been more open and adventurous about sex whereas Koreans have always been more conservative. This sort of idea just sounds like a modern (ie post-liberation) invention to me, whether or not it actually has any basis in fact.

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