Detail View

The Interesting Type, from the series Ten Types in the Physiognomic Study of Women
Date: 1792-93
Culture: Japanese
Dimensions: image: 8 1/2 x 7 1/4 in. (21.6 x 18.4 cm) sheet: 11 3/8 x 8 5/8 in. (28.9 x 21.9 cm) mount: 16 3/4 x 13 7/8 in. (42.5 x 35.2 cm)
Medium: woodblock print
Credit Line: Gift of Tilda Ritman King in memory of George and Anna Ritman
Label Text: A woman examines her teeth, which have been blackened according to a fashion for married women. Resembling beautiful lacquering, ohaguro may have also helped prevent tooth decay. This print is signed "thoughtfully drawn by Utamaro the physiognomist." It is part of an unfinished series based on a belief that facial features revealed personality traits. The title (included on earlier impressions) identified the beauty as the “interesting type.” Edgar Degas admired Utamaro as a master of harmonious line, and adopted the Japanese linearity, cropping, and distortions of perspective. Degas is also known for apparently fortuitous framing, which seemed to capture a glimpse of female dancers in realistic, unposed situations. These modernist compositional devices can be attributed to both the influence of photography and of Japanese prints. This image retains some of the sparkle of umma (powdered mica). Utamaro used this difficult and time-consuming process to add interest to the background or metallic shine to a beauty's hair ornaments.
Object Number: 2011.63
Currently not on view