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Women, Gender and Art in Asia, c. 1500-1900 brings women's engagements with art into a pan-Asian dialogue with essays that examine women as artists, commissioners, collectors, and subjects from India, Southeast Asia, Tibet, China, Korea, and Japan, from the sixteenth to the early twentieth century. The artistic media includes painting, sculpture, architecture, textiles, and photography. The book is broadly concerned with four salient questions: How unusual was it for women to engage directly with art? What factors precluded more women from doing so? In what ways did women's artwork or commissions differ from those of men? And, what were the range of meanings for woman as subject matter?
The chapters deal with historic individuals about whom there is considerable biographical information. Beyond locating these uncommon women within their socio-cultural milieux, contributors consider the multiple strands that twined to comprise their complex identities, and how these impacted their works of art. In many cases, the woman's status-as wife, mother, widow, ruler, or concubine (and multiple combinations thereof), as well as her religion and lineage-determined the media, style, and content of her art. Women, Gender and Art in Asia, c. 1500-1900 adds to our understanding of works of art, their meanings, and functions.