Sex in Ancient China: "spring pictures", hierarchy of mistresses and strict taboos
Categories: AsiaBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/sex-in-ancient-china-spring-pictures-hierarchy-of-mistresses-and-strict-taboos
China is a very peculiar country, whose religion and traditions deeply penetrate into all areas of human life, including intimate. What is considered the norm all over the world, for example, masturbation, is condemned in the Middle Kingdom, but various strange body modifications designed to affect sensuality, on the contrary, are welcome.Sexual traditions of China go back to ancient times and today we can observe echoes of ancient customs and beliefs. (Careful! Adult content).
Oddly enough, but the ancient Chinese, who coped well with images of idyllic mountain landscapes and grandees in magnificent clothes, did not know how to draw a naked body. According to many art critics, the women and men depicted by artists in the nude style looked more like potato tubers and did not look erotic at all.
Nevertheless, such a popular genre in Asia as "spring pictures" (not to be confused with "funny pictures") originated in China. Later, it was borrowed by the Japanese, thanks to whom the most sensual images of sex appeared in it, so familiar to modern connoisseurs of erotic art.
"Spring pictures" were illustrations depicting the copulation of couples in various poses. We can say that it was a kind of analogue of the Indian Kama Sutra, but not systematized and as close as possible to folk art. These pictures had practical significance, which is mentioned in some literary works.
In the novel Li Yuya "A litter of flesh" uninhibited and passionate Weiyang marries the overly shy Yuxiong. For a whole year, the guy tried to re-educate his young wife, but all his efforts were in vain. Then the sensualist brought his beloved a set of "funny pictures". At first, the modest woman indignantly rejected them, but then curiosity got the better of her and Yuxiong studied the pictures. Thanks to them, in a few months she became the passionate and inventive lover that her husband dreamed of so much.
Various fetishes played a very important role in the sexual life of the Chinese, one might even say that they were given too much importance. The cult of women's feet was one of the most widespread and Chinese women suffered for centuries because of it. Only a girl with small, bandaged feet could count on a successful marriage match.
Almost all sexual foreplay began with kissing the feet, which were disfigured by bandaging to an extreme degree. It is known that many men were excited by the sight of women's feet in small shoes, but shocked and frightened without shoes. Foot bandaging finally stopped only in the middle of the 20th century, in the era of the Cultural Revolution, but the Chinese are still convinced that the smaller a woman's foot is, the sexier it is.
The Chinese were very fond of talking about sex and genitals, using intricate metaphors. All these "jade rods", "black pearls", "lute strings", "golden hollows" and "war clubs", which the authors of romance novels are so fond of using today, come from Ancient China.
At the same time, extreme romanticism could be intertwined with rigid pragmatism. Chinese scientists loved to make all kinds of tables in which they described different types of penises, vaginas, breasts and buttocks. The authors could offer hundreds of variants of names describing certain anatomical features. For example, rounded and lush buttocks could be called "reliable pillows for love battles", and flat ones - "the property of cooks".
Numerology was the passion of the inhabitants of the Celestial Empire and they managed to apply it to all aspects of life. The number 3 denoted a strong male potency, and 9 - increased it threefold. The number 27 was the limit of everything and brought a person closer to the celestials, and based on this, they chose the number of wives and concubines for the emperors.
The Son of Heaven had one main wife, three of the first rank, nine of the second and 27 of the third. In addition to them, at least 81 concubines were supposed to be kept in the harem. The sexual life of the emperor was subject to complex rules and its order was monitored by the eunuchs of Niu-shi. These people not only had to understand the intricacies of sex and female physiology, but also thoroughly know the lunar calendar.
As for the means that excite sexual desire, the Chinese in this area have never been and have no equal in the world. Chinese folk medicine knows thousands of aphrodisiacs that have a different principle of action and are intended for a variety of cases. All of them pursued two final goals: to maximize male endurance and to help a woman reach the peak of pleasure.
The composition of the drugs could include anything: sulfur, cinnamon, ginseng root, pine nuts, algae, needles, charcoal. The Chinese also did not neglect animal products: rhinoceros horns, deer and bulls, urine, liver of animals and products of their sexual glands.
The ancient Chinese also knew a lot about sex toys. In the museums of China, you can see a lot of ancient devices for the sexual satisfaction of men and women, and some of them are so intricate that they can confound even a modern person experienced in the products of the sex industry.
If in the European tradition it is considered that a woman needs to be carefully prepared for sex, and a man is "always ready", then in China has always held a diametrically opposite point of view. In ancient treatises on the art of love, it is said that a woman can have sex whenever she wants, but a man needs to be prepared for intercourse.
To bring a man to the right condition, various acupuncture techniques, special caresses and even special devices in the form of ribbons, rings and balls were used. Breathing exercises and meditations were also held in high esteem. The ideal sex for a Chinese can be described by the phrase "a long run and a long marathon." It was not excluded that such a "long marathon" that several women took part in it. However, only aristocrats could afford such sex.
The Taoist culture of China has formed a special view of a person's sexual life. It was believed that every sexual act ending in ejaculation takes away a man's vital yang energy. That is why masturbation was strictly condemned as a wasteful attitude to semen and energy. It was believed that the "precious substance" could be spent only for the conception of a new life. Interestingly, female self-satisfaction was considered the norm, and yin energy was inexhaustible.
There were special techniques that allowed men to enjoy sex without ejaculation. At the same time, it was especially important to give sensual pleasure to a woman. During orgasm, she gave her partner a piece of her yin, and the man did not lose anything.
This unusual theory was popular back in the 20th century. It is said that Mao Zedong strictly adhered to it. That is why, in his old age, the "great helmsman" surrounded himself with a whole harem of young concubines, providing him with "vital energy".