Edo's Fashionistas
November 3, 2012 through February 24, 2013
Louis W. Hill Gallery (239)


Japanese woodblock print designers frequently depicted beautiful women. Called bijin-ga in Japanese, prints featuring comely women were appreciated by both men and women. Men enjoyed the sexual appeal of these femmes fatales, while women studied them for the latest fashions. The expert craftsmanship of the block carvers and printers meant the colors and patterns of women's robes were lavishly reproduced. Hair accessories, makeup, and the latest consumer products were also carefully noted. Women clamored to emulate styles they encountered in the prints, fueling an entire industry that catered to quickly changing tastes and trends. For today's art lovers and scholars, these details provide insight into Japanese social norms and exotic crazes during the Edo period. The prints in this gallery--all depicting beauties--date from the 18th and 19th centuries.