An Arthouse Publisher Has Reinvented the ‘Kama Sutra’

Guess you can teach an old book new tricks

June 7, 2018 9:00 am

The pinnacle of carnal exploration? It’s not on the web.

It’s the Kama Sutra, the ancient Hindu writ that covers not only pleasures in the bedroom, but also in everyday life, family and courtship.

And now we’re getting version 2.0.

Launched today, The Kama Sutra of Vatsayana is a collector’s edition of the good-loving guidebook reimagined by arthouse publisher the Folio Society and one of the greatest illustrators of our generation.

That illustrator? Award-winning artist (and Forbes “30 under 30” honoree) Victo Ngai. And the Folio Society has also added multiple historical essays and a new introduction from historian John Keay to the classic text (translated by famed explorer/linguist/spy/fencer Sir Richard Francis Burton).

The pleasure tome arrives wrapped in an elegant cloth binding blocked in gold, the top edge is gilded and there’s an integrated ribbon for marking your place (basically, a bookmark for the good stuff). Also: a signed artist’s print portraying “an amorous couple locked in the Embrace of Thighs.”

When not in use, the book can be discreetly placed within a cloth-bound box that’s blocked in gold and lined with animal representations of the male lingam and female yoni. It’s gonna look great on your bookshelf. Or your floor. Or your bed.

Again, the Kama Sutra isn’t just a guide to hedonism. As the publisher notes, before seeking out sensual pleasures, the book advises men and women to “first be schooled in the 64 arts and sciences, which include ‘arraying and adorning an idol with rice and flowers’, ‘playing on musical glasses filled with water’ and, directly after breakfast, teaching parrots to speak.”

Good luck with all that. We’ll be busy … reading.

(If you’re looking for something literary but a little less, uh, sensual, The Folio Society does release beautiful, limited-edition versions of classic literature that would make for great Father’s Day gifts. The Kama Sutra? Take that for yourself.)

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