Ancient Chinese Sex Toys Coming to San Francisco Museum

SAN FRANCISCO—An upcoming exhibit, Tomb Treasures: New Discoveries from China’s Han Dynasty, at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco will showcase artifacts from the Chinese Han Dynasty, including two sex toys estimated to be more than 2,000 years old.

The pieces, both made of bronze, were discovered in 2009 and 2012 in the modern-day Jiangsu Province near Shanghai. The phallic pieces—one of which has a metal ring attached like a handle—were found in tombs belonging to an aristocrat in the West Han Dynasty (206 BC-8 AD) and to the Chinese imperial Liu Fei (169 BC-127 BC).

“One of the most powerful civilizations of the ancient world, China’s Han dynasty achieved profound cultural and artistic influence, technological advancements and military might. Two thousand years later, discoveries of royal tombs allow us to glimpse these extraordinary accomplishments firsthand,” the exhibit’s description reads. “Emulating their grand palaces, Han royals built lavishly furnished tombs so that, in the afterlife, no need would go unmet. Daily utensils, kitchen vessels, royal symbols, weaponry and even toiletries were all accounted for. And the nobility spared no expense preserving the tools of earthly pleasures—food, music, wine, sex—in anticipation of an afterlife to surpass this world.”

Tomb Treasures will be on display Friday, Feb. 17, through Sunday, May 28. For more, visit

Pictured: One of the two bronze sex toys from the Han Dynasty that will be on display at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.



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