The women of the pleasure quarter: Japanese paintings and prints of the floating world

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This volume is the first comprehensive study of the women of the pleasure quarters and entertainment districts of Japan of the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. It examines the cultural and metaphorical meanings of courtesans and geisha and their appearance in art and Kabuki theater. These women were at the nexus of social relations, part of public culture, organized into institutions and transformed into emblems of femininity, personifications of the romantic ideal.
The Women of the Pleasure Quarter reproduces paintings and woodblock prints by forty-six artists, virtually all the leading masters of the genre, including Miyagawa Choshun, Ando Hiroshige, Katsushika Hokusai, and Kitagawa Utamaro. These works, the most familiar forms of Japanese art to Westerners, are important both for their intrinsic aesthetic quality and for their value as documents of Japanese cultural history. Art and life were fundamentally intertwined in the floating world; it was a realm in which art not only influenced life but in which popular entertainment also transformed itself into art by inventing its own conventions and artistic forms.
The Women of the Pleasure Quarter is published in conjunction with an exhibition organized by the Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts, and also seen at Equitable Gallery, New York, and Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth. Every work in the exhibition, including several rare hand-colored photographs, is reproduced in full color and discussed in an individual commentary. Capsule biographies of each artist, a glossary, and a selected bibliography complete this enchanting survey of one of the most extraordinary bodies of work in art history.

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Contents Lenders to the Exhibition
Kazue Edamatsu The Language of the Pleasure Quarter
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Об авторе (1995)

Dably (popular author of Geisha and Tale of Murasaki) vividly recreates kimono and those who wore them through the centuries, exploring Japanese culture as well.

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