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Ordeal by Roses

A work made of gelatin silver print.
© 1962 Eikoh Hosoe.

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print.


1962, printed c. 1963


Eikoh Hosoe
Japanese, born 1933

About this artwork

Ordeal by Roses, the first in a series of sumptuous book projects by Eikoh Hosoe, was a collaboration with the ardently nationalist novelist Yukio Mishima and featured the writer in a series of provocative poses. In the years after World War II Mishima embodied a scholarly aristocracy, with ties to classical Chinese and Japanese culture, as well as royalist militarism—an unusual position in Japan’s pacifist postwar society. Hosoe was a supporter of internationalist renewal and democracy, but his aesthetic sensibilities tended toward the aristocratic and classical as well. The symbolism of an egg, which could also represent the center of the Japanese flag, lovingly torn by the thorns of a rose, is direct and poignant as a line of poetry. This annotated print seems to have been made specially to produce the book.


On View, Gallery 1


Photography and Media


Eikoh Hosoe


Ordeal by Roses


Japan (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1962


Gelatin silver print


Image: 53 × 35.7 cm (20 7/8 × 14 1/16 in.); Paper: 56.2 × 46.4 cm (22 3/16 × 18 5/16 in.)

Credit Line

James and Karen Frank Fund

Reference Number



© 1962 Eikoh Hosoe.

Extended information about this artwork

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