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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This exquisite and masterly work provides thoughtful insight into the world of the centuries-old Japanese graphic art of ukioy-e, focusing primarily on those prints created during the Edo period of the 18th and 19th centuries. Following six brief, scholarly essays on such topics as poetic pictures and erotic art, 600 beautiful color illustrations are grouped, in accordance with the themes of the "floating world," into sections on theater, tradition, nature, landscape, city life, and the female figure. Calza (East Asian art history, Univ. of Venice; Hokusai) and the essayists offer readers a look into the unique world of this Japanese art for the masses, which influenced so many other cultures. Each of the illustrations that accompany the text is documented with a listing of the artist, title, date, size, medium, signature, artist's seal, location, and description. Also included are a reader's guide to pronunciation, pictures, numbering, titles, names and terms, and historical Japanese periods and dates; brief artist biographies, and a glossary. This extraordinary work should become a staple in libraries focusing on graphic art and Asian collections. Highly recommended.-Stephen Allan Patrick, East Tennessee State Univ. Lib., Johnson City Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780714847948
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2007
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 520
  • Sales rank: 367,981
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Visions of the floating world 6
Enjoying actor prints : imagining the voices of actors and music 10
Pictures of female beauties and actors in ukiyo-e representations of Kabuki theatre in the early period 15
The poetic picture : literary dimensions of early ukiyo-e 18
Shunga : erotic art of the Edo period 22
The birth and development of the depiction of female beauties (bijin-ga) in ukiyo-e painting 30
Three types of ukiyo-e prints : loose prints, greeting cards and printed books 36
Introduction to the floating world 41
I Passions on the stage : the Kabuki theatre 47
II Past and present : tradition in the world of today 115
III The relationship with nature 161
IV Landscape 195
V City life 237
VI The female figure in the floating world 331
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2005

    The Book as Art

    One of the most frequently referenced periods of Eastern art is the Edo Period in Japan, a time when woodcuts, scrolls, prints, and ink drawings literally flowed from the brushes and hands of craftsmen such as Hokusai, Utamaro, and Hiroshige. The depiction of ocean waves is still informing the art of many artists - Pat Steir comes to mind first. This is the period of ukiyo-e, a time of emperors and grandeur and shoguns and power, all captured in the enormously imaginative art. It was also a period when artists turned their attention to the honor of the geisha life, the teahouses, and the palaces of pleasure with graphic sexual depictions, a time when the rest of the outside world seemed to matter little to the level of culture in Edo (now Tokyo) for over 200 years. This splendid book is in a very large format that allows the reproductions of the plates to resemble life size! Intertwined with the well written history of art and techniques as well as erudite essays on the Japanese sociopolitical, cultural, the all important Japanese tradition of the time are placed generous examples of the finest works by the finest artists. The art is flat dimensionally but hardly communicatively. Elegant portraits of geishas reveal the traditional garb and makeup and represent a history lesson for these women of pleasure. The pure landscapes and seascapes and views mountains and volcanoes are representative of the fact that Japan is an island and never far from the influence of water. Though the book is expensive the investment is well worth the cost as only the finest paper, printing techniques, and design have been extravagantly lavished on this very beautiful and informative volume. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp

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