Bijin-ga

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Three Beauties of the Present Day by Utamaro, 1793
Kitagawa Utamaro - Toji san bijin (Three Beauties of the Present Day)From Bijin-ga (Pictures of Beautiful Women), published by Tsutaya Juzaburo - Google Art Project.jpg
Artist Kitagawa Utamaro
Year 1798

Bijinga (美人画 bijin-ga?, lit. "beautiful person picture") is a generic term for pictures of beautiful women in Japanese art, especially in woodblock printing of the ukiyo-e genre, which predate photography. Ukiyo-e is a genre of woodblock prints and paintings that was produced in Japan from the 17th century to the 19th century. These woodblock prints depicted beautiful women; kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers; scenes from history and folk tales; travel scenes and landscapes; flowers and animals and erotica. These prints were very popular amongst the Japanese merchands and the middle class of the time. Nearly all ukiyo-e artists produced bijin-ga, it being one of the central themes of the genre. However, a few, including Utamaro, Suzuki Harunobu, Itō Shinsui, Toyohara Chikanobu, Uemura Shōen and Torii Kiyonaga, are widely regarded as the greatest innovators and masters of the form.

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Further reading[edit]

  • Forbes, Andrew ; Henley, David (2012). Suzuki Harunobu: 100 Beauties. Chiang Mai: Cognoscenti Books. ASIN: B00AC2NB8Y
  • Hamanaka, Shinji. Female Image: 20th Century Prints of Japanese Beauties. Hotei Publishing 2000. ISBN 90-74822-20-7

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