A frisky sculpture from The Shunga Empire in 1st century BC, a couple centuries before The Kama Sutra

Every Friday Erotic Intent will bring you a piece of erotic art history, from ancient Greece and Rome on up to the present day. You can see some good examples of a of erotic art through the ages in our very first post, "Dildos, Strap-ons, and Pegging: An Anal History."

Indian Shunga Empire erotic art

Though the Kama Sutra would follow a couple centuries later, ancient Indians were clearly playful and sophisticated in their sexual practices. 

While misconstrued in the West as solely a sex manual, the Kama Sutra (Sanskrit: कामसूत्र ) is in fact an ancient Indian text which can be more accurately described as a guide to a virtuous and gracious life. This includes the nature of love, family life and household duties, as well as other aspects pertaining to pleasure oriented faculties.

Historians attribute the text to between 400 BCE and 200 AD, and it is likely that the Kama Sutra is a compendium that was collected into its present form by the philosopher Vātsyāyana in the 2nd century AD.

One of the four goals of Hindu life, kāma refers to sensual pleasure, while sūtra literally means a thread or line, and more metaphorically refers to a collection of lines, rules, or aphorisms in the form of this manual. •