Western Woman Dressed in Japanese Clothing Expansion

Western Woman Dressed in Japanese Clothing


GOSEDA, Horyu (attributed to)
五姓田 芳柳 (伝)
Life Dates
1827 - 1892
Technique, Material, Format
color on silk, hanging scroll 
99.0 x 38.8 cm
Inventory Number
Nihonga (Japanese-style Painting) 

During the Edo Period (1603–1868), many women were involved in various routines in the Ooku, or the women’s quarters within Edo Castle, which was headed by the official wife of the shogun. The lady in this painting is wearing a kimono that only the upper ranks of the Ooku were permitted to wear, so she looks like she must be the wife of a high-ranking samurai, and yet her face is that of a foreigner. It is a portrait of a foreign woman depicted in the style of a samurai’s wife. The legs appear longer and the waist thinner than those of Japanese women of the time. We know that such paintings were created as souvenirs for foreigners visiting Yokohama from the end of the Edo Period to the Meiji Period (1868–1912). However, it is generally not known how the images were made, and the identity of this woman is not known either.

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