Born in the United States, Isamu Noguchi lived in Japan until he was 13 years old and was deeply affected by Japanese art and culture. In 1930 the artist returned to Japan to study its sculptural traditions and ceramics. Miss Expanding Universe was the first sculpture Noguchi made upon his return to the United States in 1932. In this work, he combined machine-age streamlining with characteristics of ancient Japanese funerary sculpture (haniwa). Later the same year, Noguchi transformed this flowing form into a sacklike costume for the pioneering dancer and choreographer Ruth Page and her ballet Expanding Universe.
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