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The Complete Illustrated Kama Sutra

Edited by Lance Dane
Published by Inner Traditions
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

A fully illustrated Kama Sutra from the extraordinary and rare art collection of Lance Dane

• The first complete translation to illustrate all 64 sexual postures described in the Kama Sutra

• Includes 269 rare images

• Composed by one of the world’s foremost scholars of the Kama Sutra and Indian art

The erotic sentiments described in the Hindu love classic the Kama Sutra constitute the most famous work on sex ever created. Written almost 2,000 years ago, the Kama Sutra deals with all aspects of sexual life, including the principles and techniques of sexual pleasure and how to best achieve ecstatic expression of life’s beauty.

In this complete and illustrated guide Lance Dane accompanies the Kama Sutra text with 269 illustrations and great works of art that encompass coins, palm leaf manuscripts, sculptures, ancient toys, jewelry, architecture, ivory combs, birch bark, cloth, paintings, frescoes, and scrolls. Gathered from museums and private collections around the world—as well as the author’s own collection of over 300,000 photographs—these rare images clearly illustrate all 64 sexual positions and the erotic instructions set forth in the Kama Sutra. The result is a dazzling and sensuous reading experience through which the teachings of the Kama Sutra spring to life.


The Embrace
Alinganavichara Prakarana

This part of the Kama Shastra deals with sexual union, and is called Chatushshashti, or sixty-four. Some authors say it is so titled because it contains sixty-four chapters. Followers of Babhravya say that this part contains eight subjects: the embrace; kissing; scratching with the nails or fingers; biting; lying down; making various sounds; purushayitam, or playing the part of a man; auparishtaka, or mouth congress. Each subject is of eight kinds, and since eight multiplied by eight is sixty-four, it is therefore named Chatushshashti.

But Vatsyayana affirms that as this part also contains subjects such as striking, crying, the acts of a man during congress, the various kinds of congress and other subjects, the name sixty-four is only accidental. For instance, a tree is saptaparna, seven-leaved, or an offering of rice is panchavarna, five-coloured, but the tree does not have seven leaves, nor does rice have five colours.

Kind of Embraces

Babhravya refers to eight different kinds of embraces:
The embrace which indicates the mutual love of a man and woman who have come together is of four varieties, and the action is denoted by the word which describes it.

If a man under some pretext goes in front of or alongside a woman and touches her body with his own, this is called the touching embrace.

If a woman in a private place bends down as if to pick up something, and presses her breasts against a man sitting or standing, and the man takes hold of them, this is called a piercing embrace.

These two kinds of embraces take place only between persons who have not, as yet, started speaking freely to each other.

When two lovers are walking together slowly, either in the dark, or in a public or a lonely place, and rub their bodies against each other, this is referred to as a rubbing embrace.

If on this occasion one of them presses the other's body forcibly against a wall or pillar, this is known as a pressing embrace.

These two embraces are peculiar to those who know each other's intentions.

Embraces on Meeting

At the time of the meeting four kinds of embrace are used:
When a woman clings to a man in the same manner as a creeper twines around a tree, pulls his head down to hers to kiss him and makes a slight purring sound, embraces him, and looks lovingly at him, this embrace is called twining of a creeper.

When a woman places one of her feet on the foot of her lover, and the other on his thigh; passes one of her arms round his back, and the other on his shoulders; makes a slight sound of humming and cooing, and climbs up towards him to get a kiss, this embrace is likened to climbing a tree.

These two kinds of embrace take place when the lover is standing.

When lovers are on a bed, and embrace each other so closely that their arms and thighs are encircled by each other, and rub against them, this is called an embrace like a mixture of sesamum seed and rice.

If a man and a woman are very much in love and embrace as if they are entering into each others bodies, either while the woman is sitting on the lap of the man, or in front of him, or on a bed, this is called an embrace like a mixture of milk and water.

These two kinds of embraces take place at the time of sexual union.

Embracing Specific Body Parts

Suvarnanabha gives us four more ways of embracing particular parts of the body:
When one of the two lovers presses one or both thighs of the other between his or her own forcibly, this is the embrace of thighs.

If a man presses the jaghana, middle part of the woman's body, against his own, and mounts her to practice scratching with the nail or finger, or biting, or striking, or kissing, while the hair of the woman remains loose and flowing, this is referred to as the embrace of the jaghana.

If a man places his breast between the nipples of a woman and squeezes them, this is called the embrace of the breasts.

If either of the lovers touches the mouth, eyes and forehead of the other with his or her own, this is known as the embrace of the forehead.

Some say that even massaging is a kind I embrace because it involves touching of bodies. But Vatsyayana thinks that as massaging is performed at a specific time and for a particular purpose and has a different character, it cannot be termed an embrace.

Some shlokas further enlighten us on this:
The whole subject of embracing is of such a nature that men who ask questions about it, or who hear about it, or who talk about it, acquire thereby a desire for enjoyment. Even those embraces that are not mentioned in the Kama Shastra should be practiced at the time of sexual enjoyment, if they are in any way conducive to the increase of love or passion. The rules of the Shastra apply as long as the passion of man is middling, but once the wheel of love is set in motion, there is then no Shastra an no order.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Inner Traditions (October 7, 2003)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781594777707

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Raves and Reviews

"Gives us the dazzling artwork from museums and private collections worldwide... has not changed in over 2,000 years."

– Lois Mark Stalvey, Red Rock News, January 28, 2004

"A new, gorgeously illustrated edition of the famous Hindu Classic."

– Erotic Review, Dec/Jan 2004, Issue 58

"It is not, in fact, a pornographic work, but a book depicting the art of living for the civilized and refined citizen, finding its expression in the sphere of love, eroticism, and the sensual pleasures of life. . . . Rather than calling the Kama Sutra pornography and hiding it on the highest shelf of their bookcases, Western readers should see it as the expression of a refined, sophisticated people on the art of love."

– Audrey Chaix, Vulpes Libris, Jan 2010

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