- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Prestel Publishing (February 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 3791330470
- ISBN-13: 978-3791330471
- Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 11.5 x 0.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,309,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Gardens of Pleasure: Eroticism and Art in China Hardcover – February, 2004
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"Well documented and researched, this beautifully produced book contains a treasure-trove of Chinese erotic art." -- Art Times, March 2004
Top customer reviews
Two things stand out in every artwork and in the collection as a whole. First is the gentle, consensual tone. The closest thing to aggression is a jealous wife twisting the ear of a husband caught 'in flagrante,' and that's more humorous than anything. Voyeurism, whether peeking in on a lady's solitary pleasure, secret viewer of a couple's engagement, or the reader's own participation with the artwork, is always un-threatening. Humor is always close to the surface, the natural good humor of happy people.
The second thing that strikes a Western eye is the very non-Western conventions these artists followed in rendering men and women. The figures are very similar - women aren't given the guitar figure one might expect, and men have rounded and nearly hairless bodies. Women's breasts get only a little attention, and are covered by a bandeau or bib in many scenes. Genitalia aren't exaggerated, and their realistic scale may jar an eye that expected size and importance to go together.
But that's why these works are so enjoyable. They aren't Western, they're a very different look at the thing all people have in common. They're still beautiful, both in the Chinese tradition and in the visual celebration of sex.
For lovers of Chinese art there is a wealth of detail to pour over, including fascinating historical content that depicts the culture of ancient China.
I was delighted to find so much poetry (visual and written) within its pages. This is a wonderful book.
Warning: The images in this masterpiece are explicit and may shock some of its western readers.