KYOTO--A painting of a ghostly female created by Shoen Uemura (1875-1949), a Kyoto-based artist known for “bijin-ga” depictions of beautiful women, will be displayed at the Fukuda Art Museum here from late January, officials said.

“Yuki-onna” (snow woman, or spirit of snow) is believed to be the original drawing for a woodblock print created as one of the supplements to “Dai-Chikamatsu Zenshu,” a 16-volume collection of the complete works by dramatist Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1725). The collection was published between 1922 and 1925.

Uemura was renowned for her Japanese-style paintings of elegant Kyoto beauties in soft colors. She rarely painted female figures with subdued colors with hollows around her eyes, making “Yuki-onna” an exceptional find.

“When I saw it for the first time, I trembled with a thrill of excitement,” said Hideyuki Okada, chief of the curation section at the museum in Kyoto’s Ukyo Ward. “However, on a closer look, there seems to be a hint of feminine grace in the depiction of her fingers.”

The painting was owned by a resident of the city before the museum bought it for its collection in 2017.

“I think it will be the first time for the original painting of ‘Yuki-onna’ to be unveiled to the public,” said Okada, who conducted research on the painting.

The painting was created with ink, “gofun” (a white pigment made from shells) and “kindei” (gold pigment) on silk. The ghostly white woman carries a sword in one hand against a dark backdrop with snowflakes.

The painting measures about 35 centimeters by about 28 cm and is mounted on a hanging scroll.

Okada concluded the painting was drawn by Uemura because the signature in the upper right corner and the seal are identical to those on the woodblock print. The composition and colors are also the same.

The supplements to “Dai-Chikamatsu Zenshu” included 18 color woodblock prints from original paintings by popular artists at the time, such as Keigetsu Kikuchi (1879-1955) and Saburosuke Okada (1869-1939).

Uemura’s woodblock print was created as a supplement to the 12th volume and inspired by Chikamatsu’s play “Yuki-onna Gomai Hagoita.”

Uemura was estimated to have been around 50 years old when she created the original painting.

“Yuki-onna” will be displayed at a special exhibition titled “Bijin no Subete,” which brings together about 60 bijin-ga paintings by Uemura, Kiyokata Kaburaki (1878-1972), Shinsui Ito (1898-1972) and other artists.

The event runs from Jan. 29 to March 8. Admission is 1,300 yen ($12) for adults and college students, 700 yen for senior high school students and 400 yen for junior high and elementary school students.

For more information, visit the museum’s official website at (