Fifty charming pencil, ink, and watercolor drawings by a nineteenth-century master depict diverse but complementary aspects of Japanese art and imagination. Drawn from two rarely circulated, seldom-seen sketchbooks, these images include scenes from everyday life, rendered with expressive elegance, and episodes from classic folktales, portrayed with warm realism.
Best known for his woodblock prints, Hiroshige (17971858) recaptured the magic of the Japanese landscape in the course of his travels throughout the country. These sketchbooks date from around 1840, when the artist was at the height of his talent and popularity. Their unique and intimate glimpses of Japan before it opened to the Westof courtesans in traditional costumes, peasants at work, serene landscapes, animals, and episodes from Kabuki dramaoffer delightful souvenirs of the late Edo period and form an engaging, accessible introduction to the complex traditions of Japanese art.