Japan Awakens: Woodblock Prints of the Meiji Period (1868-1912)by Barry Till
The Meiji period's short span of forty-five years marked an astonishing metamorphosis from primitive feudal state to modern industrial and military power in Japan. The nation's policy of isolationism, sakoku (closed country), initiated in 1639, was abruptly challenged in 1853 when Commodore Matthew C. Perry sailed into Tokyo Bay with four awe-inspiring iron vessels known as "black ships." Faced with superior military technology, the Japanese were compelled to sign trade treaties with the United States and other Western countries. Soon, after some bloodshed, the final shogunate dictatorship, the Tokugawa, gave way to the sovereignty of the emperor and a restoration movement that worked hard to shape the new Japan by amalgamating Eastern and Western ideas. Emperor Meiji would ultimately become the symbol of a modernized Japan, and his reign-known as Meiji, "enlightened rule"-would represent one of the most remarkable periods in modern world history.
The woodblock printing of the Meiji period was one of the most popular means of conveying the changes taking place in Japanese society. The 109 prints featured in this book, all from the collection of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, reflect the dramatic changes taking place in Meiji-period society. Subjects range from personal appearance and fashion to architecture and transportation. Selected prints also record the history of the time: the national push toward "civilization and enlightenment," the wars with China and Russia. Colorful, innovative, and well executed, the prints are both charming and narrative.
Incisive text by curator Barry Till provides a fascinating historical overview and an enlightening discussion of theprints and artists of the period, making Japan Awakens a must for anyone interested in Japanese culture.
- Pomegranate Art Books, Incorporated
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 9.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)
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