100 Days of Art History Jinjins


The Legendary Empress Jingū

Here's another painting where I was trying to branch out from the Western canon. In doing so, the critique aspect of this project gets a bit lost, but on the other hand, I get to learn about different artistic traditions. I saw this scroll in the Met, and liked all the movement in her pose. And, there's something appealing to a depiction of women with weapons. For me, that's especially true if that woman is East Asian like me (I did grow up on the Disney movie Mulan.)

Jingū was an ancient ruler of Japan around 200 AD. She was a warrior woman and a shamaness. I liked that she had this very active and powerful role, which is pretty unusual especially in older history and artwork, and I thought it was fun that we share the same first syllable of our names. When I researched more about her though, I learned that she led an invasion of the Korean penninsula, which is not something that should be glorified, especially considering recent history. Just goes to show you that just because a lady has power doesn't mean that she'll use it well. (That's #girlboss discourse in a nutshell.)

Reference image is from The Met, where this picture is today.

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