japonisme: she stoops to conquer?

01 November 2006

she stoops to conquer?

david wondered at the artists of the day portraying dancers, loie fuller, josephine baker, in so much artwork. so what else is new? these are the superstars, the sex-goddesses. it was always thus. and here we are again with sarah bernhardt. and courtesans, the more combs and layers the better. whom other do we have without tv and rock videos?

some fascinating differences that i noticed, though. it was difficult to find any image of sarah bernhardt without her head held high. pride? arrogance? i think we'd probably be surprised to find her bowed.

but we find the geisha, the bijin, the courtesan-poets almost no other way.

beautiful woman in the west stands tall and smiles. beautiful woman in the east does neither. does this legacy hold? i doubt it. but this is what the artists recorded for several centuries in japan. it's hard for me to see it except through western eyes. what does it mean?

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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