By Artspace Editors. But what about those works whose subjects slid right past first base and sometimes even second and third? C— A. Image courtesy of the Art Insitute of Chicago. The Moche civilization dominated the arid north coast of Peru from around the first to the eighth century AD. Its peoples harnessed the waters of the Andes to create a sophisticated culture with a highly stratified urban society centered on ceremonial pyramid complexes called huacas. Their material culture includes exquisitely crafted textiles, ornamental objects in gold and semi-precious stones, wall paintings, tattooed mummies, and ceramics. The ceramics preserve images of war and daily activities such as weaving, and a group of at least vessels carries explicitly sexual images in the form of three-dimensional sculptures on top of or as part of the pot. The vessels are always functional, with a hollow body to hold liquids and a pouring spout, often in the form of a phallus. Sodomy, fellatio and masturbation are most frequently represented; cunnilingus is never found, and examples of penile penetration of the vagina are so rare as to be virtually absent.
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Japanese S hunga art is explicit about sex in a way western artists never found easy before the 20th century. As you unfurl the scroll, detailed and beautifully coloured scenes of lovemaking reveal themselves. Time stands still. The cares of life are forgotten in a relaxed, mutually fulfilling utopia of pleasure. In Greek and Roman mythology satyrs are goat-legged followers of the wine god Bacchus, hairy votaries of sex, dance and ecstasy. In Renaissance art they are walking penises, embodiments of lust, who chase nymphs or spy on sleeping goddesses. Here, however, the brilliant craftsman Riccio imagines a satyr couple, tenderly embracing in some balmy woodland nook. Being half goat, they are all desire.
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