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Love and desire in Japanese prints

    Longing for you on the
    sleepless rocky waves of the bed
    where once we loved and slept –
    I stare pensively at the long rains
    soaking my sleeves with tears.
    – Fujiwara no Takamitsu's wife to her
       absent husband, 10th century.

This exhibition of Japanese woodcuts and books of the Edo and Meiji periods (c.1600-1900) is based on the Fitzwilliam Museum's collection.

Subjects include lovers in literature and drama, couples enjoying sex or frustrated by desire, and figures yearning for absent partners, touched by the poetry of shared emotions from another time.

These pages were first created to accompany an exhibition that displayed most of this selection for the first time in the Fitzwilliam Museum from 1 October 2013 to 12 January 2014.

The section titled 'Pillow pictures' includes images and text with sexually explicit content. This section may not be accessible to browsers using a filter to exclude adult content. Parental guidance is advised.