Freer Gallery of Art
Jefferson Drive and 12th Street, SW
Gallery 13 Floor Plan
In the Confucian ideology that pervaded traditional Chinese society for more than two thousand years, women did not determine the course of their own lives. In most regards, they were subservient to and dependent on the male members of their families. Despite these strictures, women played a critical role in creating and sustaining the economic and cultural fabric of Chinese. Illustrating some of the active roles played by women in traditional Chinese society, the 30 works in this exhibition introduce goddesses, court ladies, empresses, silk makers, entertainers, courtesans, literary heroines, military figures, and the only woman to rule China as emperor. Also examining the role of women in the art world, a number of the paintings showcase the accomplishments of female artists.