Bosatsu Senju Shunga
Senju Shunga
2 min

The Mysterious Sensuality In Senju Shunga's Bosatsu

2 min

A bosatsu is one who vows to save all sentient beings before becoming a Buddha. Simple.. And not so very simple. In order to be of any help towards others one must first help oneself. This important truth is something we all seem to overlook in our daily lives.

Oxygen Mask

Before being able to fully enjoy this existence we first have to learn to love and enjoy our own personal being. Just like they tell you when going through the safety procedures on an airplane — put on your own oxygen mask before helping those around you.

Bosatsu Senju Shunga

Fig.1. 'Bosatsu (bodhisattva) ' (2017)

Intimately Familiar

The woman in Bosatsu (Fig.1) radiates self assurance and confidence. Just like her sister portrayed in my painting Aki (Fig.2), she loves herself and is intimately familiar with her inner being. Again we find the lotus flower present, telling the universal story of the heart rising from the muddy bottom, breaking the surface and unfolding in to a beautiful being.

aki autumn senju shunga

Fig.2. 'Aki (Autumn)' (2013)

Many More Dimensions

This woman is hopefully present in all my work. The Goddess who guides me, points to the truth and helps me become a better person. Not surprisingly I have always preferred the company of women before men. Not as objects of desire or lust but rather as persons painted in so many more dimensions than I have commonly found in other men.

A Perversion

I believe that true human nature is egalitarian with a strong matriarchal flow and that the present dominating male structures based on fear, competition, aggression and subsequent violent behavior represents a perversion of who we really are.

statue of Bodhisattva Prajñaparamita, a female personification

Fig.3.  Bodhisattva (Bosatsu) Prajñaparamita, a female personification of the perfection of wisdom, Singhasari period, East Java, Indonesia, 13th century (Source:

Provides Refuge

Loving ourselves, our bodies and minds in the foundation of enjoying not only the pleasures of sex, but it is also the path we inevitably have to walk in order to blossom fully. My Bosatsu provides refuge from the suffering of this world. She provides an image to emulate. Her being is a mirror in which I can discern my true reflection. She leads me through darkness into light, teaches me how to heal myself and how to let go.

Internet Pornography

The idea that we are separated from our bodies somehow leads us astray, away from the real pleasures to be had, substituting them with the mere grinding together of our genitals and frantic rattling of old, dusty bones. As contemporary internet pornography preaches its mindless gospel of insertion into orifices, male aggression and domination, that sex can be coupled with power, revenge and used as a drug to suppress our confusion and fear of not being alive enough, the Bosatsu reaches out her hands in a gesture of unselfish love.

In the extended Premium version you can discover an extensive description on Senju's ideas behind the "Aki (Autumn)" piece, that is one of his personal favorites.

Click HERE for the influence of the Shin Hanga artist Shotei Takahashi on Senju Shunga

The "Bosatsu" print can be ordered in Senju's shop (we're not an affiliate)

Source: Kagami - Contemporary Shunga by Senju Shunga