Themes in Art

Nothing but beauty

One of the most popular genres in the Japanese art of ukiyo-e woodblock printing was Bijin-ga, meaning roughly “beautiful person picture.” Definitions differ as to whether these serene images of graceful, elegantly-dressed women are meant to depict inner or outer beauty, but we do know that their forms were intentionally stylized toward cultural ideals. Among the masters of the form was Uemura Shōen, one of the rare female artists of Meiji period Japan.

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Daughter Miyuki, Uemura Shōen

Daughter Miyuki Uemura Shōen, 1914

Making a Wish for a Long Life on Chrysanthemums, Uemura Shōen

Making a Wish for a Long Life on Chrysanthemums Uemura Shōen, 1939

Yang Guifei, Uemura Shōen

Yang Guifei Uemura Shōen, 1922

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