Changing images of women: Taisho-period paintings by Uemura Shoen (1875-1949), Ito Shoha (1877-1968), and Kajiwara Hisako (1896-1988)
Uemura Shoen, Ito Shoha, and Kajiwara Hisako were Nihonga artists in Kyoto who specialized in bijinga, or paintings of women. This dissertation discusses the lives and art of these three women painters with a particular emphasis on their works of the Taisho period, exploring many social and artistic issues.The low status of women in Japan was established in the feudalistic society of the Tokugawa period, during which bijinga emerged as an important genre. As Japanese women's position in society began to change vigorously during the Taisho period, bijinga, which traditionally represented women as doll-like beautiful objects, came to be criticized as an art tradition out of touch with the contemporary social reality. With these considerations in mind, the personal histories and works of these three artists are examined. Shoen's art exemplifies a traditional notion of the feminine ideal as codified during the feudalistic period while Shoha and Hisako introduce more modern images of women in concordance to the social changes of the time. The investigation of their Taisho-period works brings to light various issues such as the theme of female nudity, self-portraiture, and paintings with social consciousness.
- Fine arts