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Portrait of Ruth St. Denis in Costume
Photographed by Orval Hixon in a period of America's history when cultural appropriation was not a concern, this portrait of Ruth St. Denis in costume certainly presents opportunities for deeper conversations around unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, and ideas of one people or society by members of another. It is apparent to the viewer that while St. Denis styled her hair in a timeless fashion, she also wears a low crown of flowers at the back of her hair reminiscent of a Japanese bridal Kushi Kanzashi set. Additionally, St. Denis wears make-up applied to define her eyebrows, lips, and eyes, and remind the viewer of a Geisha girl. She wears a short unadorned silk jacket with frog closures under a longer long-sleeved silk jacket. Her left hand secures the right flap of the jacket close to her body. To further her look, she holds a dark diminutive umbrella in her right hand.