[images of spring]

Topic: Korean Culture

The historian Ki-baik Lee describes the late-Joseon-era Korean genre painter Sin Yun-bok as depicting “scenes from the ordinary events of everyday life … mainly the mores of the townspeople of his time, with a focus on the activities of women.

That’s one way of putting it. Upon googling the artist’s name, I was startled to discover a cache of erotic paintings that, though they resemble Japanese shunga prints, are distinctly Korean in style and content. I hadn’t known that any such images existed. The depiction of homosexuality between two women in the uppermost left image is also noteworthy considering the complete absence of any homoeroticism, male or female, in contemporary Korean pornography, in sharp contrast to the freewheeling weirdness that is Japanese erotica.

The images come from a book by Seo Jeong-geol called Korean Erotic Paintings (info and images here; available for purchase from Seoul Selection).