ARTS & CULTURE
01/23/2014 04:45 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

The Internet Has Officially Discovered The Most Epic Fart Battle In All Of Art History (NSFW)

Warning: This post involves some serious nudity in, erm, compromising positions.

Today we bring you a wonderful slice of art history that's been making the internet rounds this week. Plucked straight from Japan's Edo period, dating back to the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, we present "He-gassen (The Fart Battle)," a very serious depiction of mostly nude characters engaging in the most epic fit of flatulence we've ever encountered.

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Detail of "He-gassen"

Yes, that's right. The scroll, crafted by an unknown artist or group of artists in Japan 200 to 400 years ago, proves toilet humor has a place in even the most righteous of realms -- the art world. Men, women, horses and plants are rendered as participants in a battle of wind that literally knocks human beings off their feet and causes them to cover their nasal passages in utter repulsion. Oh, art.

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Detail of "He-gassen"

The bizarre act of farting was likely used comically to shed light on the politics of the day -- the gas is thought to have been a metaphor, referring to the rampant xenophobia of the Tokugawa shogunate. But today, the vintage political cartoon loses a bit of its implied sentiment, causing more than a few present-day observers to chuckle like a 13-year-old. Nevertheless, a set of 12 "He-gassen" prints sold for over $1,500 at Christie's Auction House in the 1990s.

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Detail of "He-gassen"

For more on the work, check out the Waseda University archives -- it helps if you speak Japanese. For more on Japan's art history, check out "Shunga: Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art" here.

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Detail of "He-gassen"

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Detail of "He-gassen"

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Detail of "He-gassen"

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Detail of "He-gassen"

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Detail of "He-gassen"

(All images courtesy of Wikimedia)

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