A naturalistic rendering of a human face. Eyes carved in relief are convex and almond-shaped with narrow slits and are placed in round, concave eye sockets. Nose is slender at the bridge and rounded at the tip. The horizontal mouth is partially opened. Half rounded ears display metal loops. The "hair" is attached with a cloth headband high on forehead and is made from clay and red tukula powder. The face shows striated, scarifcation patters underneath and to the sides of the eyes; the forehead shows is a chingelyengelye cross motif. The patina is smooth and redish brown in color.
This mask represents pwo, the beautiful and poised female ancestor honored in the makishi masquerades performed by the Chokwe and neighboring peoples in Zambia, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Pwo is the most popular of all makishi, or masked characters that embody spirits. Though danced on other occasions, pwo is most closely associated with the boys’ mukanda initiation. Among the female persona portrayed in the makishi repertoire, the pwo (ancestor) and mwana pwo (young woman) characters represent the ideals of “fulfilled” and “potential” womanhood. Masks are completed by full-body costumes made from woven fiber or cotton and a wraparound skirt made from imported fabrics.
This image is of a lone female figure centrally located on the scroll. The dominate color of the image is red. The figure's outer kimono is decorated with red and gold maple leaves.
Living in Kyoto, Soken was one of Maruyama Okyo's ten best pupils. He excelled in his depictions of beautiful women. The woman in this work, with one arm withdraw into her sleeve and a hand working to let down her hair, appears to be undressing. The soft reddish blush on her cheek and her averted eyes suggest that she is aware of being observed.
A female nude reclining on a bed wearing one yellow slipper on her left foot, a gold bracelet on her right arm and a black ribbon tied in a bow around her neck. An African American woman in a blue dress stands behind her holding a bouquet of yellow and white flowers. A small monkey sits at the foot of the bed. All subjects look directly at the viewer.
This work borrows its subject matter, title and composition directly from Manet’s Olympia painted in 1863, which depicts a nude mistress, or more likely a prostitute, reclining on a bed; behind her is an African American woman, presumably a maid, presenting her with a bouquet of flowers, while a black cat sits at the foot of the bed.
In this work, Mel Ramos blurs the line between the fine art tradition of the aestheticized female nude and contemporary pornography, suggested by his hyper-realist treatment of the nude, revealing her tan lines, her blonde bob, and her quasi-seductive gaze, similar to what one might find in any number of pin-ups girls. Ramos updates not only the reclining nude, but also the older black servant, who becomes a young woman with a stylish afro. He further exoticizes the scene by replacing Manet’s black cat, a common 19th century symbol for prostitute, with a small monkey that, along with the two women, makes direct eye contact with the viewer.