Beauty, Intricacy and Desire: Women in Japanese Woodblock Prints

Musée Guimet takes us on a unique visual exploration of female body and its place in rare Japanese woodblock prints.

Miroir du désir: Women in Japanese Woodblock Prints at Musée Guimet
Women diving for abalone. From Hundred Poems Explained by a Nurse. Katsushika Hokusai (1835-1836) Courtesy National Museum, Tokyo

With its new exhibition, titled Miroir du désir – Images de femmes dans l’estampe japonaise (Mirror of Desire – Images of Women in Japanese Woodblock Prints), Musée Guimet unveils a part of its rich collection of Japanese woodblock prints belonging to the Edo period (1603-1868).

Miroir du désir: Women in Japanese Woodblock Prints at Musée Guimet
Young Ladies viewing Cherry Blossoms at Asukayama, Torii Kiyonaga (1787)
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée Guimet, Paris) / Thierry Ollivier

A unique visual experience, the exhibition provides a mesmerising tour through different representations of the female body in ukiyo-e and shunga, Japanese art forms of woodblock printing and painting art forms, that flourished during the Edo period.

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Miroir du désir: Women in Japanese Woodblock Prints at Musée Guimet
Woman Sitting on Veranda, Kitagawa Utamaro
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée Guimet, Paris) / Thierry Ollivier
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