Pheasant and Chrysanthemums (detail), By Utagawa Hiroshige, Edo period, 19th century
Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 10
August 29, 2023 (Tue) - October 1, 2023 (Sun)
Prints and paintings called ukiyo–e were the first genre of art enjoyed by common people on a large scale. Economic growth contributed to the creation of this genre in the 17th century. As living standards improved, common people developed an urban culture that was passionate about trends, fashion, and entertainment.
At first, ukiyo–e depicted the celebrities of the day, especially actors of the kabuki theater and courtesans of the pleasure quarters (the legal brothel district). The subject matter later expanded to include topics like seasonal festivals, travel spots, and landscapes.Techniques for making ukiyo–e also changed over time. Early ukiyo–e were painted by hand. Artisans later started carving images into blocks of wood and using these blocks to print ukiyo–e in large numbers. These black–and–white prints were much more affordable. As carving and printing techniques were refined, prints with a brilliant range of colors became possible.
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|By Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)
|Edo period, 19th century
|Allusion to the Chinese Sages Xu You and Chao Fu
|By Kawamata Tsunemasa (dates unknown)
|Edo period, 18th century
|“Kōraiya” from the Series "Actors on the Stage"
|By Utagawa Toyokuni (1769–1825)
|Edo period, 1795