Artist: Hirano HakuhoTitle: Arranging Her HairPublisher: Shozaburo WatanabeDate: 1932Medium: Japanese woodblock printSize: oban, 10.5 x 15 inches
HIRANO HAKUHO (1879-1957), who was a self taught Nihonga (Japanese-style) painter, born in Kyoto. While little is known about his life, in the early 1930's he was known to have collaborated with the publisher Watanabe Shozaburo. Two of these prints were shown at the 1936 Toledo exhibition. Like many other bijin-ga artists, Hakuho portrayed beautiful Japanese women as they dress or arrange their hair. However, in the majority of his prints, the woman is depicted from the side or back, mysteriously concealing her face and emotions. This unusual perspective creates a voyeuristic intimacy, both distancing and drawing in the viewer. It also emphasizes the back of the woman's neck, considered erotic in Japan. Hakuho's prints, characterized by graceful lines, muted colors, and swirling baren lines (gomazuri), depict the traditional ideal of Japanese femininity.
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