Prayer II by Gu Luo Shui
3 min

Lost in Dreams: The Bijin-ga Renaissance In the Art of Gu Luo Shui

3 min

The art of this Chinese-born painter would appeal to the connoisseurs of soft erotica. The dreamy beauties of Gu Luo Shui can be compared to the characters from bijin-ga ("pictures of beautiful women") and abuna-e ("risky pictures"), the genres that used to set trends in Japanese culture, being no less popular than explicit spring pictures. But while the semi-naked beauties of Toyonobu or Utamaro are caught performing their daily routine or flirting with males, the girls of Gu Luo Shui live in their vivid imaginary world, levitating and observing butterflies though, their hands sometimes are still tied with the thin thread of reason.

Moonlit night poem Gu Luo Shui

Fig. 1. Moonlit Night Poem (

Prayer II by Gu Luo Shui

Fig. 2. Prayer II (

Gu Luo Shui painting

Fig. 3. I saw a deer when I was deep in the forest and I saw you when I woke up from a dream, 2019 (

 Red Thread III  by Gu Luo Shui

Fig. 4. Red Thread III (

Red Thread IV by Gu Luo Shui

Fig. 5. Red Thread IV, 2020 (

Red Thread V by Gu Luo Shui

Fig. 6. Red Thread V (

Red Thread by Gu Luo Shui

Fig. 7. Red Thread (

The Artist with Two Names

Gu Luo Shui was born in 1986 in Luoyang (North-Eastern China). Interestingly, she's also known as Ko Rakusui, and many paintings on her Instagram account are tagged with this name, however, "Gu Luo Shui" is written in the profile description. We've spent some time finding out, whether Gu Luo Shui and Ko Rakusui are the same person to avoid mixing two different artists. It seems that Ko Rakusui is Luo Shui's Japanese alter-ego since after the completion of the Chinese Painting course in 2009, Luo Shui moved to Japan to study a master's course in Japanese Painting at the Kyoto University of Art and Design. Having completed a doctoral course in Japanese Painting at the same university in 2016, Luo Shui became a part-time lecturer in Calligraphy and Painting. Currently, she is a Fellow of the Japan Art Academy. As for the names, it remains unknown if "Rakusui" is derived from Rakusui-en, a park in Fukuoka City consisting of a tea room and a Japanese garden. Anyway, the fragile feminine beauty in the paintings of Luo Shui is always connected to the recognizable features of the Japanese landscape, such as the moon, blooming trees, and flowers.

 nude with butterfly by Gu Luo Shui

Fig. 8.

 nudd from the back by Gu Luo Shui

Fig. 9.

In the extended Premium edition we're going to take a look on how Luo Shui explores the soul of a female in her work, more on her Bijin-ga and ukiyo-e aesthetics, and dozens of additional pics of her dreamy nudes.

Click HERE for the gracious nudes of Luo Shui's Chinese colleague He Jiaying


What do you think about the paintings of Luo Shui? Leave your reaction in the comment box below...!!