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Portrait of a Woman

Portrait of a Woman

1800s

Gion Seitoku

(Japanese, 1781-1829?)

Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper

Overall: 139.7 cm (55 in.); Painting only: 56.6 x 44 cm (22 5/16 x 17 5/16 in.)

The Kelvin Smith Collection, given by Mrs. Kelvin Smith 1985.271

Description

During the 1700s and 1800s, wearing iridescent, greenish lip gloss was in vogue. Also, Japanese women almost universally practiced the custom of artificially blackening their teeth with a stain. This woman wears a tortoiseshell comb and hairpins. A Kyoto-based painter, Seitoku specialized in portraying women from the Gion, the licensed brothel district in Kyoto. He was known for detailing faces with subtle modeling to heighten a sense of realism.

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