The Art of Fart

By Vincent

Farts. Nobody talks about them, but everyone makes them. Several times a day, in fact. (Don’t hold it in, you’ll poison yourself.) But it’s also true that nothing brings down your social standing as quickly as breaking wind (except spilling your drink on your crotch).

The fart has also entered into the modern Japanese lexicon. For instance the word ‘onara’ means ‘the honourable sound’ which actually means ‘fart’, while a wrongdoer who pretends to be innocent is described by ‘he o koite, shiri o subomu’, which literally means, ‘having farted, he closed his arse’.

At one time, this taboo subject was actually made the focus of art, and on a topic that was trending way, way back. He-Gassen (while ‘gassen’ may sound like ‘fart’, it’s actually ‘battle’. It’s the ‘he’ that means ‘fart’), drawn 200-400 years ago, was likely a form of bellyaching about the encroaching influence of Europeans, showing the rampant xenophobia of that time. For your perusal (and it’s not an April Fool’s joke),

fart battles,

he-gassen attack

the Edo period version of the ‘hit-and-run’,

he-gassen horse

fart battle strategy

he-gassen fans

and fart bombs (one dude literally lost his shoe).

he-gassen bomb

Toss this in the face of any philistine who claims that art history is boring. There’s value in farts: in the 90s, a collection of fart scrolls sold for $1,500 at the famous Christie’s auction house.

Now doesn’t that blow your mind?