An exhibit of ancient Chinese erotica art has been displayed at Sotheby’s Gallery in Hong Kong. With the use of the collection of Ferdinand M. Bertholet, artwork from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) to the Qing Dynasty (AD 1644-AD 1911) can be seen.
The exhibit is called “Gardens of Pleasure: Sex in Ancient China.” Bertholet said that he chose Hong Kong for this exhibit, and not mainland China, because he was afraid that Chinese authorities would confiscate his collection.
The reason for this is that the gallery shows a rather explicit view of ancient Chinese people.
“It’s a bit strange that if you look at all these paintings, we can see they are rather explicit. You can see a naked body in each detail. But what you never see in these paintings is a naked foot. That was not done,” he said while explaining the artwork with a 19th-century foot binding stool with two pairs of silk “golden lotus” slippers. He says that this is the beauty of Chinese erotica.
The gallery also included bronze, ivory, painted porcelain, and silk pieces that showed the lavishness of China’s old days.
Bertholet also said that Daoism influenced the ancient Chinese people to reveal their naked bodies. “Well, you know, the Chinese don’t have the same hangups as the Christians have. They don’t have this sin feeling, but that doesn’t mean that they were completely liberated. But they had one very important aspect in their philosophy, and that was Daoism. And in the Daoist philosophy, [people] can be happy only if they have knowledge of the right way to have sex,” he said.