Shunga at the British Museum

Shunga at the British MuseumOkay, I confess – I saw the shunga exhibition at the British Museum weeks ago and I’ve been putting off writing about it. I expect you can guess why. On the one hand it’s a major exhibition of Japanese art in London -right up my street. On the other hand, it’s shunga – which translates literally as spring pictures but is in fact a euphemism for explicit erotic art. You see my problem. Continue reading

Let it snow, let it snow…but only in Cambridge

Ogata Gekko © The Fitzwilliam Museum, CambridgeI put off going to the Snow Country exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge until now (and you thought I was just slow off the mark! Shame on you) so as to get the full shivery effect of looking at snow in the depths of winter. And it worked. What with the amount of snow in the pictures and the chilly temperature of the room they’re displayed in you could practically see our breath forming ice crystals in the air by the time we left. But in a good way. Continue reading

Magical picture books from 19th century Yokohama

CamelliasForeigners in Yokohama at the end of the nineteen century lived an enviable life. They inhabited large mansions up on the hills overlooking the bay with spacious grounds and plenty of servants so they had time to turn their attention to gardening, versifying and keeping the kids entertained. Which is where Japanese publisher Takejiro Hasegawa spotted an opportunity. Continue reading