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Kama Sutra


Rosemary Davidson

(London Times)

A drawing book containing incomplete illustrations of cows and tortoises might be thought to be aimed at children. Not so the dot-to-dot Kama Sutra.

Released, perhaps, as an alternative Christmas present, the latest adaptation of the ancient guide to sexual nirvana offers adults the chance to re-create its explicit scenes with a few strokes of a well-leaded pencil.

Joining 89 sexually explicit dots, for example, summons up 'the cow', a position created when 'a woman stands on her hands and feet like a quadruped and her lover mounts her like a bull'.

An easier prospect to achieve on the page, if not in the bedroom, is 'fixing a nail', which has only 70 dots. The 'full feet in the air' position is a bit tougher, with 82.

For experts, the book offers 158 seemingly random specks that, with a bit of patience, can be magically transformed into 'the tantric tortoise'.

The original Kama Sutra, written by the ancient Hindu philosopher Vatsyayana almost two millennia ago, includes chapters called Sexual Union, About a Wife and About Others' Wives. Although most famous for its sexual advice, the text also has advice on how to behave honourably to your family.

First translated into English in 1883 under the guidance of the Victorian explorer Richard Burton, the Kama Sutra has since been repurposed for a modern audience through formats as varied as an iPhone app and an alcoholic drink.

Rosemary Davidson, the book's editor, said that her original idea was to publish a dot to dot version of Fifty Shades of Grey, the infamous bondage romance by E. L. James. "But it was published by another division [of Random House] so there were limitations on what we could do," she said. "I thought: what’s the next best known sex manual?"

Ms Davidson roped in two "highly esteemed" art directors to help. Perhaps understandably, they wished to remain anonymous, but said that they were suprised about how hard it was to re-create the Kama Sutra positions in dot form.

"It was difficult, you could easily lose your way around a body when positioning the dots," one said. "The rude bits were the most complicated parts to work out. So many dots, so close together."

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