Women in Japanese prints art exhibit reveals underlying issues during the Tokugawa period
COLUMBIA – The new Japanese woodblock print exhibit at the University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archaeology has a deeper purpose. The exhibit, Courtiers, Courtesans and Crones: Women in Japanese Prints, depicts both real and idealized women during the Tokugawa period in Japan and considers the limited identities and confining roles of women.
Courtiers, Courtesans and Crones: Women in Japanese Prints is the museum’s third exhibit of Japanese prints.
Out of the many diverse roles in Japan, male artists selected only a few of the female identities as representation in their woodblock prints. This exhibit focuses on women who worked in Japanese pleasure districts. The women in these districts were put on a pedestal, as if they were untouchable. The all-male artists created these women to be impossibly perfect within their artwork.
The exhibit also portrays “real women” being mothers, worshippers, and waitresses amongst other things, painting a bigger picture of Japanese women during that time.
Courtiers, Courtesans and Crones: Women in Japanese Prints' goal is to reveal the cracks behind Japan’s historic "perfect" woman and show that females were key drivers in the world of commerce and culture.
Museum Volunteer Docent Remy Wagner said, “We can relate the themes of young women, mother, and crone to culturally traditions all over the world.”
The Museum of Art and Archaeology is the only place these prints can be found and the exhibit is only availible for a limited time due to preservation of the artwork.
Wagner said, “The thing about the wood cuts is that they are on paper and so they can only be up for three months at a time and then they have to go back into dark storage.”
The exhibit will run until October 9. The exhibit is open Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.