He makes "vagina calligraphy" art. Huh?

Chinese artist Sun Ping has had his membership revoked from the Chinese Artist’s Association (CAA) for creating, ahem, vagina calligraphy.

(Yes, his membership. Ping is a 63-year-old man and therefore does not perform in the actual calligraphy himself).

While I’m sure you have countless burning questions on the topic (is ‘burning’ the right word to use in this context?), the biggest one is probably: what the heck is vagina calligraphy?

It involves holding – clenching? inserting? – a large calligraphy brush inside the vagina, squatting over a large sheet of traditional parchment, and drawing the ancient symbols of Chinese calligraphy.

Ping films the artists at work, and then plays back the scene in a multimedia presentation. The below example is a 2006 production called “Unknown Tao”.

Got five? Watch the whole thing here, it’s mesmerising…

“Unknown Tao” – Sun Ping, 2006. (Post continues after video)

Work like this has resulted in Ping being banned from the CAA. The Association, which was founded in 1949, released a statement that Ping (known to them only as member 3685, because ~communism) has been abolished by the group. Yes, ‘abolished’.


They claim “sexual calligraphy” is “vulgar”, has “an adverse effect” and inflicts “considerable damage” onto Chinese society, as well as the association’s repute, while also defiling the tradition of calligraphy.

As for Ping? He’s pretty amused about the whole drama.

He said the organisation is “extremely conservative” and that his “first reaction [to the banning] was laughter.”

He also mentioned that he only joined the CAA as a young artist to gain access to exhibitions. “It was funny to be suddenly reminded that I still had the slightest connection with them,” he said. Ouch!

Chinese calligraphy is a sacred tradition, with early symbols traced back to 4,000 BC. Throughout Chinese history, all important members of society, from the emperor to his subjects, were expected to show strong skills in calligraphy writing.

According to Travel China online, the art of calligraphy is a highly revered skill to have.

“In China calligraphy occupies a distinguished position in the field of traditional art,” says their website. “It is not only a means of communication, but also a means of expressing a person’s inner world in an aesthetic sense.”

(Ping has certainly nailed the ‘person’s inner world’ element, ammiright?)

From Jamie McCartney’s Great Wall of Vagina installation to Casey Jenkins’ Vagina Knitting artwork, the humble vagina is clearly enjoying its moment in the modern art spotlight.

As Ping told online Chinese publication Sixth Tone, “the vagina is too often considered vulgar, but it’s where we all come from.”

Can’t argue with that. But wouldn’t it be nice to credit the women attached to those clever vaginas, too? Sure, Ping sounds great, but we reckon all the talent here lies with the ladies.

00:00 / ???