This illustration is from Su E Pian (or Su Wo Pien), a four-volume work of Chinese erotica, ca. 1640, from the Ming Dynasty. The institute's copy, donated in 1948, is the most complete known to exist. Su E Pian tells the story of Master Wu Shan Si, an historical figure of the Tang Dynasty, and his beautiful concubine, Su E (translated as Lady of the Moon), who captivates Wu completely. Various natural settings inspire the couple to engage in sexual intercourse using different positions. To each, Su E gives a poetic name, one of which is Flowers Longing for Butterflies. The positions are illustrated with wood engravings and accompanied by verse in the traditional Chinese style. The work's engraver, Huang Yi Kai, was well known for his artistic accomplishments. His style of woodcutting was minute and exquisite.The work's verse reflects Taoism's emphasis on returning to nature and on the harmony that should exist between nature and humankind. The authorship of the book is attributed to the Immortal Square Pot. "Pot," in Chinese Taoist terms, refers to a mixture of yin and yang.

Copyright © 1997 The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction