Exhibition: “Images of Women in Japanese Prints” | France

Images of Women in Japanese Prints

The Guimet Museum of Asian Art, in Paris, France, presents an exhibition entitled “Mirror of Desire – Images of Women in Japanese Prints”. The exhibition opened on 6 July and can be visited until 10 October 2016.

Through this event, the Guimet Museum of Asian Art unveils a portion of its rich collection of Japanese prints and addresses the contrasting image of women: their place in society, but also their relations amongst themselves or those they have with men. The exhibition is an authentic visual experience, offering a tour through the different types of representations of the female image in the Edo Period (1603-1868).

If the very expression “Japanese prints” was synonymous of delicately erotic or even openly pornographic images, the female image as depicted by the greatest names of the Ukiyo-e (including Suzuki Harunobu, Hosoda Eiri, Kitagawa Utamaro and Katsuchika Hokusai) far exceeds such a connotation. For this exhibition the works on exhibit range from courtesans and the evocation of the pleasure district of Edo (Yoshiwara) to 18th and 19th Century shunga (pornographic prints); women as objects of desire, even occasionally violent, as well as their recovered privacy away from men: roaming in a boat or under flowering trees, preparing to bathe or to sleep.

On this occasion, several rare ensembles will be shown, including Utamaro’s famous triptych “Abalone Fisherwomen” (c. 1797). A rare example of female nudes in Japanese prints save for erotic prints, this triptych represents the ama – literally “sea women” – who for centuries have dived for abalones off Japan’s Pacific coast.

An exhibition catalogue, comprising 48 pages and 40 illustrations, as well as a conversation with anthropologist and researcher Agnès Giard, has also been published.

For additional information about “Mirror of Desire – Images of Women in Japanese Prints”, please visit http://www.guimet.fr/en/exhibitions/mirror-of-desire-images-of-women-in-japanese-prints

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