The topic of eroticism is a taboo in most regions around the world today. However, just about a few centuries ago, the ancestors of people from these very regions had a liberal mindset. Eroticism was not only encouraged but was represented in various forms of art in order to educate the society on the sexual process. Read on for astonishing artistic discoveries from across the world from the most unexpected origins.

Prehistoric Cave Art in France



Everyone is familiar with evolution and the story of Adam and Eve. Through prehistoric age to civilization, the books explain how humans invented the wheel or learned to make a fire and other such interesting facts. Here is an interesting fact – erotica has existed since the birth of mankind. Cave remains from the Paleolithic age show erotic carvings and paintings on the walls of the caves. This was during the time when man was concerned about survival and proliferation of his species. Thus the erotic rock paintings and sculptures in caves of Europe and France were solely for educational purposes.

The Prehistoric Venus Figurines



Originating from a time at least 35,000 years ago, Venus Figurines are statuettes depicting nude women specifically illustrating the anatomical parts of the body involved in sex. They were carved out of bone, calcite, ivory, limestone or other materials. These are amongst the oldest forms of art perceived to be sex toys, discovered by mankind. Most Venus Figurines have enlarged body parts while some, curiously, are found to be missing a few core anatomical features. The typical features of a Venus Figurine seem to be consistent over the ages including a swollen tummy, large breasts, and large thighs. They are assumed to represent an erotic form of the female body as perceived by men through the ages. Few of the oldest statuettes include Venus of Hohle Fels (nearly 40,000 years old) recovered in Schelklingen, Germany and Venus of Galgenberg (30,000 years old) recovered near Stratzing, Austria.

The Erotic Papyrus of Turin



The Playboy Magazine of the 12th Century BC, the Turin Papyrus is a scroll painting with a depiction of various sexual positions. On display at the Museo Egizio in Turin, this is a two-part scroll painting. One third of the scroll is occupied by humorous paintings of animals performing human tasks, while two thirds of the scroll is occupied by erotic scenes. The papyrus was catering to an elite audience judging by the quality of its imagery. Disproving the common belief that Egyptian art is devoid of any eroticism, the Erotic Papyrus has left most scholars and commentators speechless.

Sculptures of Khajuraho



In a country where PDA is scorned upon, the temples of Khajuraho make a daring statement. Located in the Heart of India, the temples of Khajuraho are adorned by eroticsculptures that illustrate various coital positions. In ancient India, the various means of communication and education included music, literature, and art. The temples of Khajuraho educated the people of the civilization in the art of tantric sex. This was a stream of media similar to television or radio today. The interesting fact here is that these sculptures though vividly descriptive are not meant to titillate the audience, but aim at symbolically representing the union of a devotee with divinity or God through divine love.

The Royal Indian Miniatures



Miniature paintings became one of the most appreciated forms of art in India from circa 1200. Erotic miniatures were made to educate people in tantric sex. These paintings began to occur in various manuals to illustrate the postures that were initially explained in Vatsayana’s Kamasutra. Most erotic miniatures have been attributed to dynasties that ruled in Malwa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and other regions of Northern and Central India. The style is assumed to be native to the Rajputs and Mughals of India. Essentially, the miniature paintings were compiled in manuscripts, adorned on walls, weaved into tapestries and carpets to promote Tantrism among the people. When today they try to restrict copulation, it is hard to believe there was a time when it was encouraged.

Mithunas of Konark



A raving subject among commentators, the Sun Temple of Konark has a few of the most vivid erotic sculptures found in the world. Going by the tradition of teaching through sculptures, the illustrations on the walls of this temple teach more than what is present in Vatsayana’s Kamasutra. The stone art speaks of high intellectual understanding of the human anatomy and technical knowledge of coitus. Considering that the temple was constructed many centuries ago in a civilization that was not as advanced as the present world, it is ironic that the ancient people were more receptive to ideas and had no inhibitions like the present society where sex is a taboo. The ideology behind the sculptures is simple: “A man can attain salvation only after he has fulfilled all his earthly desires (religion/responsibilities, wealth and desires).”

The Secret Cabinet of Naples Museum



In the 18th century excavations near the bay of Naples, many forms of erotic art were found. The frescos, sculptures, inscriptions, and other artifacts were found to revolve around a pornographic theme. The 19th century Greeks and Romans were not as liberals as their ancestors and regarded the artifacts to be quite obscene. Most of recovered art shows oversized phalluses and frescoes like that of Priapus showing enlarged reproductive organs. A marble sculpture of the god Pan in an erotic position with a goat representing bestiality is also a part of this collection. Though the art was interpreted to be a symbol of fertility, its offensive nature kept it locked away for most of the century.  After many centuries of being locked up in the secret closet with little daylight sometimes, the entire collection was finally made accessible for public viewing during the 2000. Despite all the social, political, economical, and technological advancement in the world, this secret collection can be viewed by a minor only with written permission or adult supervision.

Ancient Roman Pottery



Ceramic artifacts recovered from ancient Roman civilization shows depiction of sexual scenes in the form of paintings on the material. The scenes are simple representations of sexual acts that were a part of their cultural and religious practices. The interesting ideology found in this art is scenes of homosexuality and pederasty that also shows that the people of the Archaic period were cooler than those of the 21st century. There are many vases, cups, cameos, sculptures and other ceramic artifacts with paintings of gay and lesbian love scenes that have been interpreted to be drawn from routine life. Today, watching two people of the same sex holding hands raises so many questions in a human mind. These paintings make the mind question its own sanity for judging societal norms.

The Moche Pots



Just when archaeologists thought they had seen everything that a civilization could throw at them, they uncovered the art of the Moche. The Pre-Columbian artifacts include pottery that were created on the theme of eroticism. Crafted for the elite group of the Moche society, these pots were presented during burials. The pots display sexual acts like masturbation, anal sex, and fellatio that would not result in children. The faith was that the dead would take this as a symbol of fertility. The  collection includes masturbating skeletons that seem to inform the deceased that death is not the end of life. All these pots are on display at the Museo Larco, Lima educating tourists on liberalism.

The Japanese Netsuke



Before the 14th century, the Japanese civilization was conservative with little freedom to express erotica. With Netsuke, many forms of art came into existence giving way to expression of erotica. Inspired by the shunga (pictorial representation of sex) of Chinese, the Japanese used Netsuke to educate people in the art of sex. The Shunga Netsuke was created to educate newly weds and was passed down as heirlooms through generations. This was a new form of sex-ed without many instructions on the how-to front. As centuries went by, the Shunga Netsuke were abandoned as they lacked comprehensive descriptions and represented impossible positions. Finally, these mini-sculptures were transformed into collectibles.