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Kitagawa Utamaro (Japanese, 1753 – 1806), Courtesan Hanaogi in Ogiya, attendants Yoshino and Tatsuta, 18th century, ink on paper, Museum Purchase, 1928.30.1, Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.

Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, 1760 – 1849), The Great Wave off the Coast of Kanagawa, 1830 – 1831, ink on paper, 10 x 14 1/2 inches, Museum Purchase, 1930.388.1. Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.

Utagawa Kunisada (Japanese, 1786 – 1865), Standing Courtesan, 1828, ink on paper, 14 7/8 x 10 1/8 inches, Gift, Mr. and Mrs. Jenckes through Mrs. Wendell Jay, 1956.70.1. Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.

Utagawa Kunisada (Japanese, 1786 – 1865), The Sacred Tree (Sakaki), 1853, ink on paper, 14 3/4 x 10 1/8 inches, Gift, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur G. Bailey, 1957.68.4.4. Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.

Utagawa Kunisada (Japanese, 1786 – 1865), Otomo no Kuronushi, 1861, ink on paper, 14 ¼ x 9 7/8 inches, Museum Purchase, 1923.270.1. Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.

Utagawa (Ando) Hiroshige I (Japanese, 1797 – 1858), Village by the Tamagawa River, 1858, ink on paper, 8 ¾ x 13 ½ inches, Museum Purchase, 1979.584.1C. Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.

Floating Beauty: Women in the Art of Ukiyo-e (version including 3D objects) installed at the Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.

Floating Beauty: Women in the Art of Ukiyo-e (version including 3D objects) installed at the Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.

Floating Beauty: Women in the Art of Ukiyo-e installed at the Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.

Floating Beauty: Women in the Art of Ukiyo-e installed at the Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.

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Floating Beauty: Women in the Art of Ukiyo-e

Floating Beauty: Women in the Art of Ukiyo-e examines historical perspectives on women and their depiction in art in Edo Period Japan (1615 – 1858). Made up entirely of woodblock prints created in the ukiyo-e style, this exhibition highlights female characters in literature, kabuki theatre, and poetry; the courtesans and geisha of the Yoshiwara district; and wives and mothers from different social classes performing the duties of their station, in order to gain some insight into the lives of women in pre-modern Japan.

In the tradition of ukiyo-e, women are most often represented in the bijinga (“pictures of beautiful women”) genre. This was the feminine ideal, and these beauties were passive, attentive, and demure. Looking beyond the bijinga, this exhibition shows that women in Edo society took an active role in their own lives, and this fact is echoed in the literature and drama of the period.

Over fifty woodblock prints will be featured in the exhibition, including works by ukiyo-e masters Suzuki Harunobu, Kitagawa Utamaro, Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Kunisada, Kikugawa Eizan, and Utagawa Hiroshige. The entire exhibition is taken from the permanent collection of the Reading Public Museum.

Contents: 54 woodblock prints in 52 frames, one printing block, and one scroll (needing vitrines). 3-D supplemental objects available.

Size: Approximately 170 linear feet

Exhibition fee includes: approximate 12 week loan period, digital versions of labels and text panels, and a marketing packet including several high-resolution images, captions, and a sample press release

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For more information on traveling exhibits please contact Ashley Houston at 
610.371.5850 x232 or Ashley.houston@readingpublicmuseum.org.

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