Women Observing Stars

Women Observing Stars 1936 Chou Ota, Japan

I recently saw this at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo and was floored, immediately. The presence of a telescope in such a traditionally-executed piece was remarkable enough; it’s an infiltrator, hard geometric lines clashing with soft strokes of the figures. But it was the main observer’s fixed gaze that drew me in. Hands firmly gripping the mechanism, she seems completely removed from the rest of the group, lost in stars.

And for all ye brave Steampunk hooligans and aethernauts here is a collection of historical telescope and binocular links, as a supplement.

7 Responses to “Women Observing Stars”

  1. Nadya Says:

    So beautiful and elegant… I love this! The telescope looks photorealistic to me in comparison to the women. I love how the women look like they’re glowing slightly.

  2. Aza Says:


    My first post here by the way…

    That picture is so intriguing, for us steampunk geeks especially.

    I want to put that picture on my wall somewhere!

    by the way I gotta say you´re an amazing artist Zo, love you art so much!

  3. Zoetica Says:

    Nadya, perhaps they are glowing – because of the stars.

    Aza, thank you so much! You could print out this bigger image, though it’s a bit more saturated than the original.

  4. BettieRage Says:

    This is the exact type of heart wrenchingly perfect post that makes me adore Coilhouse. I fall in love over and over.

  5. Alice Says:

    That is one of the most beautiful Japanese images I’ve ever seen.

    Besides, of course, The Fisherman’s Wife’s Dream.

  6. Vivacious G Says:

    BettieRage said it right.

  7. spaewaif Says:

    Last Tuesday I went to the Municipal Art Museum in Kyoto and found a painting by Ota named “Vaccionation”.
    A woman dressed in an exquisite but simple kimono folds her sleep up to be vaccinated.Beautiful.
    I so loved it that doing a search ended up here to find this wonderful piece.
    The starry women also featured in a Japan Post stamp a while ago.