Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

“Woman Washing Her Face” by Goyō Hashiguchi

Hashiguchi Goyo - Woman Washing Her Face - Walters 95888

“Woman Washing Her Face” by Goyō Hashiguchi

“Woman Washing Her Face” by Goyō Hashiguchi is a colour woodblock print, from 1920’s Japan. The artist, Goyo’s had a late call to the traditional woodblock print after a career of illustration in other media. He was inspired by the old techniques and admiration for the great portraits of beautiful women by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753 – 1806). The extraordinary beauty and technical excellence have made his prints among the most sought-after Japanese prints.

Goyō Hashiguchi’s perfectionism led to him publishing only a handful of prints, each one technically excellent with a nostalgic passion for the art form. The exceptional wood cutting of the blocks to portray the intricacies of women’s hair was an Ukiyo-e tradition which Goyo has enthusiastically revived. The prints impact is also enhanced by him restricting his palette to a few primary colours. Hashiguchi had a short time span of only two years to produce these superb masterworks before he died aged forty-two.

Goyo Hashiguchi was a samurai and a Shijo-style painter who was a perfectionist and who set up his own workshop a few years before his death. His standards were so high that most of his editions ran to no more than eighty prints. Goyo died having completed only 14 prints (13 plus 1 published by Watanabe), later members of Goyo’s family brought some of his unfinished works to completion.

Goyō Hashiguchi Masterpieces

Woman Washing Her Face

  • Title:                    Woman Washing Her Face
  • Japanese:            日本語: 「顔を洗う女」
  • Artist:                  Goyō Hashiguchi
  • Published:          1920
  • Culture:               Japanese
  • Writing:               Japanese
  • Material:             Woodblock print on paper
  • Dimensions:      H: 55.5 cm (21.8 in); W: 41.5 cm (16.3 in)
  • Museum:            Walters Art Museum

Goyō Hashiguchi


“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”
– Japanese Proverb


Photo Credit: 1) Goyō Hashiguchi [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons