Friday, 12 August 2016


#MONJU #japaneseart #lacquer

Images of Monju on Secular Objects like Woodcut Ukiyo-e prints and Lacquer may have had a gender and sexual orientation significance

While this is fairly close to traditional Buddhist iconography note that he is shown as a young man or teenager rather than as an adult.

The tradition of one of the forms of Manjusri / Monju being a young man became part of Japanese male homosexual culture.

How can I say it politely.

A lot of 18th century Ukiyo-e prints of Monju shown as a pretty boy actor are probably PINUP ART !

So the next time you see a print labelled actor so and so dressed for Lion Dance or Kabuki Actor so and so playing Monju ....

MMM given women visited the theatre too I wonder if any of them had boxes full of prints of favorite male actors  taken out in rare moments of privacy and explained to the rest of the family as pictures of MONJU ...

It is a lovely piece of lacquer though whether the owner was a devout Buddhist or trying to signal their orientation and preferences given these inro were used predominantly by men.