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The Asparagus Vendor: Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
In the 1620s, the Dutch East India Trading Company fully opened trade routes into the Far East, launching a craze for Japanese culture throughout Holland. The demand for exotic luxury household goods was especially prevalent in Amsterdam, where a newly prosperous merchant class had disposable income to spend on furniture, textiles, and other decorative objects. Dutch men regarded silk Japanese kimonos as exclusive prestige objects, and donned them as loungewear for the home. However, in the enthusiasm for cultural appropriation, there were occasions for mistranslation. In Pieter de Hooch’s The Asparagus Vendor, the man of the house is dressed in a vibrant red-orange robe. While the orange color on a man would have been unusual in Japan, there were no such limitations in Holland. He is actually wearing a Japanese woman’s underrobe, which is more properly worn under a more elaborately embellished and patterned kimono. Seen in Suzuki Harunobu’s Getting Dressed, the underrobe offers a flash of color as an attractive accent for a woman’s ensemble.
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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: March 10, 2012