Sex Museums, Chinese

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Sex Museums, Chinese

There are two major publicly known collections of sex-related art objects in China, one in Tongli (Jiangsu Province) and one in Beijing. The former is the China Sex Museum, founded by Liu Dalin, a retired sociology professor. It has six branch museums throughout the country. The Tongli museum displays 1,500 objects covering 9,000 years of Chinese sexual culture and is organized into four categories: prehistoric times, women and marriage, sex in everyday life, and unconventional sexual behavior. Some of the items presented include brothel coins, clay vessels, porcelain figurines, and erotic paintings. The museum first opened in Shanghai in 1999, moved to a second location in the city in 2001, and opened at its current location in December 2003. Shanghai officials had prevented Liu from using the word sex in advertising the museum, tour books from designating the museum as a scenic location, and a state-run tourism company from lending its support.

Another showing of sexual objects also ran into trouble. In October 2003 Ma Xiaonian, deputy head of Beijing Sexual Health Research Association, organized the "Exhibition of Sex Culture" in Beijing with 700 artifacts, but it closed after one day when the display room became overcrowded. As of October 2004 the exhibition, retitled "Sex and Reproductive Health Sciences Exhibition," had nine rooms displaying 1,400 items. They include objects of stone, jade, ceramic, and porcelain, as well as marriage certificates and mail-order-bride forms. The museum has a few to a few hundred visitors per day.


China Sex Museum. Available from

Liu, Dalin. 2000. Zhongguo Xing Shi Tu Jian (A collection of illustrations in Chinese sex history). Changchun Shi: Shi Dai Wen Yi Chu Ban She.

                                      Donna J. Drucker