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Picturing a World

Kimono and doll

Okay, so not a female artist, but I couldn't resist William McGregor Paxton's portrait of a woman in a kimono contemplating a Japanese doll. (A female artist connection: the model may be his wife, painter Elizabeth Vaughan Okie.) What's useful to me in my musing on Japonisme as part of Jeanette's story is the way the picture can lead to thoughts about how a particular woman might react privately to a particular Japanese object. Is this Jeanette or one of her friends? Does the character hold a doll or teacup? What is the emotion aroused in her? in the reader? Looked at this way, there's no need worry about the Male Gaze or other scholoraly or critical criteria. As for the golden frame, well, of course, I had to include it when I took a screen shot!

Image via Sotheby's

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