Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sublime: "Timeless Beauty"

One of the small galleries at the Indianapolis Museum of Art is hosting 
an exhibition of Japanese color woodblock prints. They are of a genre
called bijinga, depictions of female beauties from the last three
decades of the 18th century into the 20th century.
Called "Long Undergarment," the above print was made in 1929
by Torii Kotondo (1900-1976), the fourth year of the Showa period,
and is the latest work in the exhibition. 

"Snow and a Quiet House," made in 1898 by Ogata Gekko, 
is one of 36 prints from Customs and Manners of Ladies.
The prints depicted women engaged in artistic pursuits.
I particularly enjoyed this print because of the delicately drawn
background depicting the snow falling on a house in the distance.

The late 18th century saw an increase in popularity of abana-e prints, 
called "dangerous" or "risque", because they featured glimpses 
of nude or semi-nude women caught in everyday activities. In 1772, the 
government banned erotic prints, which led to the popularity of scenes 
such as this one, produced circa 1765-1767 by Torii Kiyomitsu.
 Titled, "Girl Walking in the Wind,"  the scene depicts 
a young woman attempting to shield her face from the wind, 
even as her kimono is blown around her, revealing her leg.


dive said...

Hoo boy, Speedway; you've hit me in a weak spot. I LOVE Japanese prints, particularly あば苗。
The nape of the neck is particularly erotic in Japan (and in my house, too), so that first print is particularly fine.

I shouldn't really be looking at these at breakfast time; now I'm going to be all unnecessary for the rest of the morning. Hee hee.

Speedway said...

あば苗 translates as "if feet seedling." Huh? Does that little circle at the end make a difference? I thought it was a period.

Dive a good man is a gift and much appreciated. The are also an almost unaffordable luxury, beyond my means. I'll have a pint of ice cream. While it may enlarge my hips it won't hit me or steal my money.

Speedway said...

With the little circle it becomes "if red seedlings."

dive said...

Oops! Hit the wrong key when I was typing the kana, Speedway. Should have read 危な絵 (abu-na-e) which reads risqué or dangerous pictures.