Since The Turkish Bath (1863) by the French painter Ingres, the Far Eastern woman has to many been a symbol of pleasures out of reach or forbidden. Seafaring explorers, military adventurers and simple travellers from Europe over the centuries have all been enthralled by the exotic nature of the oriental woman, her foreignness accentuated by the gentle pallor of her skin. Thus arose the myth that she, of all women, was in possession of the knowledge of certain refined pleasures. Historically, in the traditions of both China and Japan, women have been required to respond at least acquiescently to men’s desires. It was part of their upbringing, quite different from the moral taboos decreed on the subject by our Western civilization. This book – richly illustrated with colourful Chinese and Japanese prints and ivory carvings, some of considerable antiquity – thus figuratively comprises an Oriental hymn to carnal pleasures and to the Game of Love. In a lively and comprehensive text, Professor Hans-Jürgen Döpp reveals the ancient rules that govern relationships between men and women in the Far East – while not ignoring the importance of Love.
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