Ladies Sewing (Kijo saihō no zu)

Adachi Ginkō Japanese

Not on view

The sewing machine is the featured attraction in this print of upper-class women making and ironing clothing. Sewing machines were a novelty in Japan in the 1870s, but by the mid-1880s, when Western dress was enforced for many government employees, seamstresses and tailors started to use Singer machines in preference to hand machines. The sewing machine was among the efficiency-improving devices that carried Western ideas concerning gender roles, progress, and technology into Japan. The Meiji empress supported imported fashions with caution but at the same time was an advocate for the development of the domestic textile industry. However, around the 1880s only the upper classes could afford expensive Western garments.

Ladies Sewing  (Kijo saihō no zu), Adachi Ginkō (Japanese, 1853–1902), Triptych of woodblock prints (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper, Japan

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