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Before the Mirror

A work made of color woodblock print.

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  • A work made of color woodblock print.

Date:

July 1916

Artist:

Ito Shinsui
Japanese, 1898-1972

About this artwork

This young geisha has been caught in a private moment, absorbed in checking her hairstyle in front of a mirror. The volume of her figure and the depth of the image were intended to appeal to international audiences that preferred such realism. The print is inscribed with the word shihitsu (trial drawing), marking this work as the first collaboration between Itô Shinsui and the publisher Watanabe Shôzaburô, who had spotted the artist’s painting of this image and approached him as a partner.

The printer Ono Gintarô used the edge of his round, flat baren (a disk-shaped tool) to create swirling lines throughout the background. The rich red color that dominates this composition was achieved with natural dyes rather than the chemical-based aniline dyes favored in earlier prints from the Meiji period (1868–1912).

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Arts of Asia

Artist

Ito Shinsui

Title

Before the Mirror

Place

Japan (Artist's nationality)

Date

1911–1921

Medium

Color woodblock print

Dimensions

44.2 × 29.3 cm (17 1/2 × 11 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Bequest of Henry C. Schwab

Reference Number

1943.820

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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