MANEKISTEFY_ Female figure in Japanese folklore
I am very proud to present you this beautiful exhibition, as it is the result of hard work and great passion.
Manekistefy is well known for her traditional Japanese tatto style, she often visits Japan and the great masters of tattooing. She works in Marghera, Venice, and she has dedicated her life to the study of Japanese culture and art.
Fermale figure in Japanese folklore is the Italian artist and tattooer Manekistefy’s solo show curated by Marta Bandini and Elettra Bottazzi from 15th September – 8th October at Parione9 Gallery in Rome.
The purpose of the exhibition is to display the female figure in the Japanese folklore. The artist works on the different aspects of the Japanese woman rappresentation through twenty-five artworks on paper.
The idea of the Eastern woman in Western culture is often related to the Geisha. But in the Japanese tradition she can embody different personalities: heroine, warrior, wizard, witch or deity. All of these features are visible in the artworks displayed, such as Kannon Bosatsu, goddess of mercy and compassion and Benzaiten defender of the arts.
The roots of the female figure representation in Japan are very ancient and closely linked to the religions of Shintoism and Buddhism. She symbolizes the conjunction between man and nature and spreads strength and passion to the universe.
Female figure in japanese folklore concludes an itinerary begun in January 2017 with Crez’s solo show: Dragons, which analyzed the typical iconography of the dragon in the horimono tradition. Crez and Manekistefy of the Adrenalink Tattoing of Marghera, partenrs in work and life, focus their research on the diffusion and knowledge of the Eastern cutlure.
If you love Japanese tattoo culture but you are not sure about the real meanings behind some of its most famous characters and symbols, here is a little guide for you, straight from Manekistefy solo show:
Cranes are among the premier symbols of longevity and good fortune in East Asia. I draw a crane to symbolize a love story between a man and a woman.
Once upon a time a man rescued a wounded heron, he cared for it and set it free. Soon after he felt in love and married a beautiful girl. She was a skillful weaver of silk brocade, but she didn’t want to be seen by him while she was working. One day he couldn’t resist to curiosity and he looked at her. She was the beautiful heron he saved. She turned into a young woman for the last time, telling him that she couldn’t live with him only so long as he was unaware of her non-human nature.
She has a colored or feather kimonos, called hagoromo, that permits her to fly in heaven. Arrived to our land, she took off her hagoromo; a fisherman, after having spied the goddess, hides the clothes for marrying her. Passed many years, the fisherman told the truth to his wife that, weared the kimono, returned to heaven.
GEISHA (Kuniyoshi studies)
Geisha private life fragment intent to play with two kittens. Geisha means a “person prepared in Arts”. Since the Edo era, this word was used to describe women of the pleasure district whom amused the house of tea’s clients with music and dances.
OKAME or OTAFUKU
Otafuku remains one of Japan’s most beguiling figures. She is every woman, a source of generosity, a fertility symbol. Her essence is goodwill and affirmation and delight and she is thought to bestow success and well being and to grant wishes. A long time ago there was a difference between the two names but, today, they are used whitout a particular distinction.
An important pearl was stolen by the Dragon king during transport. Kamatari, an aristocratic founder of Fujiwara family, felt responsabile and decided to exile himself. One day he met a beautiful diver girl, Ama. They had a son. She helped him to recuperate the pearl. They organize a banquet with musicians to distract the Dragon King. She found the pearl, but the Dragon attacked her with all his marine friends. She was hurt to death but she accomplished her mission.
Oiwa is my tribute to all women victims of violence. Oiwa, whose story is memorialized in Yotsuya Kaidan,_ one of the most famous of all kabuki ghost player, was the wife of an Edo-era warrior. She was pregnant when her husband conspired against her, his hope was her death, so he could marry another girl. She was disfigured by a poisoned facial cream. She died in a fight against him. Her passionate grief transformed her in a ghost that haunted him and make him commit many murders.
This mask is used in the Nō Theatre. It evokes the Princess Rokujō’s spirit turned into a demon by jealousy and passion for Prince Genji, she wants to kill his mistress.
Onnabugeisha were female warriors like samurai, they were part of the japanese nobility, members of the ‘bushi’ class in feudal Japan. They were trained in the use of weapons to protect their household, family and honour.
DANSHICHI KUROBEI (feminine version, inspired by Horihide’s painting)
She represents the Otokodate myth that embody in the Edo period Japanese chivalrous ideals, defender of the oppressed and the weak being part of the lowest social class.
Mountain old woman, or mountain witch. A powerful magician, she could be portrayded as a terrifying anthtopopagous woman of immense strength whose sharp-toothed mouth is hidden under her hairline, and whose hair turns into serpernts with which she ensnares and captures small children to eat, or as a merciful foster mother to many heroes. The most famous hero raised by Yamauba is Kintaro (or Kintoki), rappresented in this painting clinging on her shoulders.
She is one of the most beloved figures of Japanese mythology and belief. She represent the essence of compassion and mercy for children and the helpless. Appearing in thirty-three different manifestation, this number became sacre. At the beginning, she was a male desciple of the Buddha in the Indian Buddhism becoming a female Boddhisatva.
It intensifies the breathing in the lower area of the chest; has a calming effect and help to fall asleep but you don’t have to abuse the practice. It fights spasms and menstrual cramps because the pelvis is relaxed.
BENZAITEN OR BENTEN SAMA
She is the only woman in the Seven Lucky Gods, Shichifukujin. She is patron of the music and the artists. In this painting is rapresented as Shakti Mudra’s decoration.
They represent the woman beauty. In this painting they are a Mudra’s decoration. Mudra are hand positions in the yoga practice.
JNANA MUDRA AND CHIN MUDRA
The most known positions of the Hatha Yoga having effects on physical level, mental emotional and spiritual. Symbols of connection between human awareness (forefinger) and Gods (thumb). The three Guna (elongated fingers) are the qualities that mantain the evolution: Tamas (lethargy), Rajas (activity) and Sattva (balance and harmony). The closed circle created by the fore finger and the thumb is the real purpose of Yoga: the union between the individual soul (Atman) and the world soul (Brahman). It’s an universal remedy to improve tension condition, mental disorder and stimulates concentration and memory.
Character of the Kabuki Theatre. He plays a geisha intents to buy fabric. In reality he is a thief that wants to rubber the fabric traders. After funny ascamotages he reveals himself like a man showing his tattoos with cherry blossoms. Women cannot play in the kabuki theatre, so all female characters were played by male actors.
Harpy is part of the new folklore in Japan. In the last 40 years many manga, anime and movies transformed a western myth in japanese folkloristic figure.