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The Artist Senju Shunga Explains How Kinbaku Inspires His Art

The Artist Senju Shunga Explains How Kinbaku Inspires His Art

In his recently published book Kagami and in the text below, Senju Shunga reveals his thoughts on the art of kinbaku and how he conveyed this in his painting Kikubari

Kinbaku or Shibari, the Japanese art of rope bondage is a distinctly aesthetic form of erotic play where much emphasis is put on the position of the body of the bound person as well as on the interaction between the bakushi, bondage master and his subject. I am myself not particularly attracted to the ideas of domination and submission, but a sense of curiosity arises when I see the images of the bound bodies in their sometimes intentionally uncomfortable and asymmetric positions.

Genital Stimulation

For me, as an erotic artist, much inspiration has been found in the bondage photographs of Nobuyoshi Araki (b.1940) as well as in the paintings of Ozuma Kaname (1939-2011). Even if bondage have little or no arousing effect on me, I can still experience a sense of eroticism when viewing it. It then becomes more a matter of shape, form and the pleasure I often see in the bound persons face and eyes. It is clearly a thing that travels far beyond what is called conventional sex, with its fixation on genital stimulation.

kinbaku

Kikubari (Care, attentiveness, consideration)‘ by Senju Shunga

Defiant Aura

The faces of the bound women in Nobuyoshi Araki’s kinbaku photography, with eyes often looking straight into the lens, their calm faces and defiant aura, suggest to me that the roles of the participants may be reversed and the bakushi is perhaps not the dominant figure in these erotic tableau. In the play between binder and bound the border is liquid and blurred since none of them can exist without being mirrored by the other one.

Kikubari

This was the inspiration for Kikubari. The notion that nothing is truly separated from the rest of the universe. It is the law of cause and effect. Since ancient times reality happens in a forward and outward motion, and everything we know is interdependent, from Big Bang to kinbaku.

shibari

Dominant or Submissive?

Some would argue that the binder is dominant and the bound is submissive, but if being bound gives you a sense of release, if it frees you from chains and shackles, gives you inner strength, then the identity as submissive transforms into a dominant one. The bound person is now in charge of his or her own world, By seeking to be bound they liberate themselves from what imprisons them.

As the Stars

When I read the words of people practising kinbaku, the spectrum of emotions are as wide as the sky and as individual as the stars. This gave me the idea to start experimenting with compositions based on rope play. Even though I am not myself a practioner I can understand the desire to bind and be bound. The meditative aspects of fully focusing on the present moment and the erotic aspects of rope bondage. To fully place all your trust into the hands of another human being is to practice intimacy.

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Comment Section

2 thoughts on “The Artist Senju Shunga Explains How Kinbaku Inspires His Art


By jeff faerber on 29 November 2018

great article. I, too, am not into Shibari, but I do find it aesthetically interesting to look at


By Marijn on 29 November 2018

Thanks Jeff. Yes, I could imagine elements of shibari “accidently” entering your shunga universe.

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