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Past Special Exhibitions

Women's Sugoroku Game Worldviews of Meiji-Era Japanese Women

Women's Sugoroku Game
Worldviews of Meiji-Era
Japanese Women

Exhibits of Makeup Culture

27 November (Tue), 2001 to 27 January (Sun), 2002

Sugoroku is a Japanese game (similar to the Western “snakes and ladders”) popularly played during the New Year's holidays. Around the 20th century, women's magazines began appearing in great numbers, and the sugoroku games these carried as supplements became quite popular. This exhibition considered such fascinations of those times and introduced some of the feminine worldviews considered proper at that time.

Iron line patterned lacquered cypress basin, Edo Period

Edo Period
Makeup Implements 4
— Samurai & Merchant Bridal Implements

Exhibits of Makeup Culture

26 September (Wed) to 25 November (Sun), 2001

During the Edo period, the dowries of samurai family daughters often included bridal implements bearing the crests of their or the groom's family. Only daimyō (feudal lords) of a certain standing could afford the elegant opulence of gold-lacquering on these, but by the end of the Edo period, the use of such items was spreading among wealthy merchant families as well. This exhibition presented the beauty of such Edo-era bridal implements, with a spotlight on makeup implements in particular.

INOUI Exhibition

INOUI Exhibition

Exhibits of Corporate Culture

28 August (Fri) to 28 October (Sun), 2001

This exhibition presented Inoui, a cosmetic brand long favored by women with more stylish sensibilities. Inoui went on the market in 1977 as a foreign specialty brand with a lineup that focused mainly on fragrances. It later added makeup products to its lineup and began selling these in Japan as well. The product concept underlying the original Inoui line was to target women with “refined sensibilities” and who “live beautifully,” and it was successful in appealing to these. The brand would undergo two packaging revisions over the years, but twenty-four years later it still remained popular. This special exhibition focused on the packaging of the initial fragrance products, introducing the creative process behind this through original designs, prototype models, and other materials. It also displayed innovative products from 1992 and 1994.

Pine & camellia patterned lacquered basin with ears, iron crosspiece, iron bowl, iron kettle, Edo Period

Edo Period
Makeup Implements 3
— Ohaguro

Exhibits of Makeup Culture

31 July (Tue) to 24 September (Mon), 2001

“Teeth blackening” (ohaguro) was used in ancient times by women and even men of the court nobility. By Edo it had become part of the look adopted by many ordinary women, and the custom persisted even into the late 1800s. Today ohaguro has disappeared entirely, but this exhibition introduced it through makeup implements and the imagery of woodblock prints. It also contained excerpts on ohaguro from the previous year's reprinting of the 1813 book Miyako Fuzoku Kesho Den (Customs of Grooming in the Capital).

Three-Tiered Face Powder Box

Edo Period
Makeup Implements 2
— Face Powder

Exhibits of Makeup Culture

29 May (Tue) to 29 July (Sun), 2001

During the Edo period people applied face whitening powder (oshiroi) by dissolving it in water and applying it with a brush. While commoner women rarely used face powder unless they were to participate in some kind of ceremony or festivity, among the court nobility and warrior classes it was considered an expected element of personal grooming. This exhibition presented a variety of implements used in applying oshiroi, among them gilded face powder containers, a three-tiered box used when dissolving the powder in water, implements used to manufacture face powder in Ise, applicator brushes of various shapes and sizes, and woodblock print images showing people using the powder.

Auslese Exhibition

Auslese Exhibition

Exhibits of Corporate Culture

24 April (Tue) to 24 June (Sun), 2001

(Exhibition held in the Materials Display Space in the Shiseido Art House)

Auslese radically changed the concept of cosmetics for men. While “perfume” had long been a pointed consideration, Auslese colognes were conceptualized around elements like subtlety of fragrance, functionality, and freedom, helping to establish a sense of “casualness” to male grooming style. Launched in October 1980, the Auslese line remains popular even today. This exhibition looked at the Auslese packaging design and concept, touching briefly on the creative process that went into it. It displayed some of the prototype models and package designs.

Hand-mirror stand of lacquered, gold-gilded pine, Late Edo period

Edo Period
Makeup Implements 1
— Mirror Stands

Exhibits of Makeup Culture

27 March (Tue) to 27 May (Sun), 2001

This exhibition was the first in a series showcasing Edo-era makeup implements. Daimyō in the Edo period would often include gilded bridal implements in their wedding dowries. Among these, this exhibition introduced mirror stands and the mirrors they held, as well as woodblock prints showing the forms these stands took. The stands were generally of two types: models equipped with ditty compartments, and models designed to hold hand-mirrors with handles. The mirrors were either perfectly round or equipped with handles. Those with handles often came in sets, one large and one small. The daimyō were allowed to have such implements gilded with gold, but this exhibition showed how even wealthy merchants and village headmen found them beautiful enough to have made for them in secret.

Famous in Tokyo, the museum on Shimbashi Ginza Street, and Shimbashi Station, Artist unknown, 1910

The Ginza Depicted
in Woodblock Prints

Exhibits of Makeup Culture

30 January (Wed) to 25 March (Sun), 2001

Tokyo's Ginza district was the seat of civilization and enlightenment and at the forefront of fashion. In the wake of the 1872 Great Fire, buildings in the area were replaced with more durable brick structures, the same year that a railway was opened linking Shimbashi to Yokohama. Matching the modern Western-style buildings built near the entrance to Shimbashi station were numerous shops selling imported goods. In the Japan of that time, fashion and culture flowed from Ginza to the rest of the nation, as did the news written by various newspapers headquartered in the area. This exhibition showed the Ginza of this era as depicted in woodblock prints, offering glimpses of urban culture and changing fashions.