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True Beauties: No. 8, Beauty with Book

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Chikanobu Yoshu, Japanese, (1838–1912)
True Beauties: No. 8, Beauty with Book, 9/10/1897
Ink on Paper
11 7/8 in. x 8 1/8 in. (30.16 cm x 20.64 cm)

Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Period: Meiji (Japan, 1869-1912)
Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the Aoki Endowment for Japanese Arts and Cultures
Accession Number: 2005.1.59

Alternate Title: Shinbijin: No. 8

Signed: “Yoshu Chikanobu”

Object Description
While the 36 sheets in the Shinbijin could be purchased separately, they could also be mounted in an album as a set. The prints are conspicuously numbered, in the lower left margin, and thus have an intended sequence. Each pair of odd and even prints has the figures looking toward each other, across the fold of an album format, although the ewomen do not necessarily look directly at each other. A dialogue can be imagined, but the possible responses are uncertain.

In this print, a young woman wearing a wedding band clutches a book, possibly the libretto of a play she has seen. If mounted in an album opposite No. 7 which shows a girl teasing a cat, then the older woman might be turning her head to see what all the giggling is about. If opposite No. 9 which shows a girl carrying a glass globe with goldfish, then the two might be returning from a neighborhood festival. Chikanobu has depicted particular types of woman (not specific individuals), but left their relationships (if any) deliberately vague, encouraging viewers to become engaged with the figures and their thoughts.

Akiyama Buemon

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