(From the pages of Erotic Art History:)
Today’s piece of erotic art history comes to us from circa 1743 Turkey and is ascribed to Abdullah Bukhari (1) who is also known for his other surviving erotic works. In this scene, a smiling male couple lies together on the floor in a “spooning” erotic embrace that may or may not involve penetration.
The two men are semi-clothed and are laying on their sides on a blanket or thin mattress on the ground with one behind the other. Both men have the fronts of their entaris (a customary outerwear robe of the era) open and are not wearing the pants that traditionally are worn beneath, leaving them relatively naked from the waists down as the bottom halves of their robes are arranged to the side.
The man who is the “big spoon” in this cuddle wraps his arm around the front of his partner’s chest from behind and slightly props himself up with an elbow as he smiles and regards his lover and appears to be opening his mouth to speak to him. It is impossible to tell from the image if penetration is meant to be taking place in this scene, but given the clues, it would appear that the “big spoon” is meant to be either admiring his partner in an intimate moment, checking in with his partner during mutually enjoyable sex, or asking his partner if he is ready to proceed. The man who is the “little spoon” in the cuddle lays with his arms behind his head, with both his smile as well as his erection expressing his pleasure in the situation.
REFERENCE / FURTHER READING
(1) SOTHEBY’S AUCTION: “Turkey, probably Istanbul, 18th century, Two erotic scenes, ascribed to Abdullah Bukhari, both signed and one dated 1156 AH/1743 AD“
WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE: “Ottoman Clothing”
HYPERALLERGIC ARTICLE: “From a Table of Phalluses to a Ménage à Trois Watercolor, Erotic Art Heads to Auction“