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The Beauty of Silence

Japanese Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)

Robert Schaap and J. Thomas Rimer


The Beauty of Silence. Japanese Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1867-1927) is the first monograph in English on Tsukioka Kōgyo, one of the lesser-known exponents of Japanese woodblock prints of the Meiji period (1868-1912). This publication exposes Kōgyo’s life and work, presenting a detailed and abundantly-illustrated overview of his rich oeuvre of prints and paintings, and places them in the context of his times. For the first time, Kōgyo’s life and work are accessible to readers throughout the world.
Kōgyo is particularly well-known for his many depictions of the Nō, Japan’s elegant and poetic theatrical form, dating back to medieval times. Performances of Nō continue to have wide audiences even today, with admirers not only in Japan, but throughout Asia, Europe and the United States.
Kōgyo often created unusual images of the theatrical productions he attended, and his prints provide fascinating visual clues and insights into how these classic plays were actually performed during his lifetime. In these theatrical prints, Kōgyo created images of an evocative beauty that are comparable with the work of some of the great artists in the European tradition who also recorded the theatrical practices of their times.
The Beauty of Silence illustrates a range of Kōgyo’s works on a variety of subjects, including landscapes, as well as samples of his art created in other media. The publication includes his biography, historical information on the Nō, a detailed analysis of the prints, and useful information on each of the Nō plays pictured. The appendices section includes listings of more than a hundred artist-seals used by Kōgyo, an index of Nō plays and illustrations of all 120 prints belonging to Kōgyo’s famous print series Nōgaku hyakuban (One Hundred Nō Plays).
This book, with almost 400 full color illustrations, will be of wide interest both to lovers of woodblock prints and to those interested in the power and beauty of Japan’s theatrical traditions.

Crows, Cranes & Camellias

The Natural World of Ohara Koson 1877-1945

Amy Reigle Newland, Jan Perrée and Robert Schaap

The work of print artist Ohara Koson (1877-1945) mainly consists of prints of birds and flowers, characterised by their peaceful charm. This book about Koson is the first Western publication of his oeuvre of prints and paintings. It provides all known information on the artist's life and work, his teachers and publishers, facsimiles of his signatures and seals and illustrations of an estimated seventy-five percent of his total print output, now kept in the splendid collection of Japanese prints in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. First published in 2001, this new edition features an additional chapter on Koson’s oeuvre and designs which have been discovered since the original publication of Crows, Cranes and Camellias. This title is the definitive reference book for Koson collectors. The 1st edition with ISBN 9789074822381 is now out of stock.

Reading Surimono

The Interplay of Text and Image in Japanese Prints

John Carpenter

This full-colour catalogue illustrates and describes over 300 surimono (privately published deluxe Japanese prints) belonging to the Graphics Collection of the Museum of Design Zurich, which were recently placed on long-term loan to the Museum Rietberg Zurich. Originally bequeathed to the Museum of Design by the Swiss collector Marino Lusy (1880-1954), the collection includes many rare and previously unpublished examples. Edited by John T. Carpenter, with contributions from a distinguished roster of Edo art and literary specialists, this groundbreaking scholarly publication investigates surimono as a hybrid genre combining literature and art. Introductory essays treat issues such as text-image interaction and iconography, poetry and intertextuality, as well as the operation of Kabuki fan clubs and poetry circles in late 18th and early 19th century Japan. Other essays document Lusy’s accomplishments as a talented lithographer inspired by East Asian art, and as an astute collector who acquired prints from Parisian auction houses and dealers in the early 20th century. Translations of kyoka (31-witty verse) that accompany images are given for all prints. The volume also includes a comprehensive index of poets with Japanese characters. This publication is not only indispensable to specialists in ukiyo-e, but has much to offer any reader interested in traditional Japanese art and literature.

Competition and Collaboration

Japanese Prints of the Utagawa School

Joan Mueller

The prolific Utagawa school is one of the most famous lineages of print artists in the history of Japanese woodblock prints. It was founded by Utagawa Toyoharu during the second half of the eighteenth century and remained active in Edo, present-day Tokyo, throughout the nineteenth century. During this period, Utagawa-school artists dominated virtually every genre of ukiyo-e prints, or “pictures of the floating world,” including pictures of beautiful women, prints of kabuki actors, warrior prints, erotica, and landscape pictures. Colorful, technically innovative, and sometimes defiant of government regulations, these prints documented for a popular audience the pleasures of urban life, leisure, and travel. The diverse works by Utagawa Kunisada, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Utagawa Hiroshige, and others reflected the changing social, economic, and political conditions present during the closing century of the Edo period (1615-1868) and early years of the Meiji period (1868-1912).
This 232-page groundbreaking catalogue features full-color images of more than 200 prints from the renowned Van Vleck Collection of Japanese Prints at the Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin–Madison. This collection – a number of which were once part of Frank Lloyd Wright’s personal collection of Japanese prints – is particularly noteworthy for its strong holdings of landscape prints including rare designs incorporating western perspective by the school’s founder Toyoharu. The book includes explicated entries for each work, artist biographies, and five scholarly essays about Japanese print culture and the Utagawa school.

James King and Yuriko Iwakiri

Japanese Warrior Prints 1646–1905 is the first publication in the English language devoted entirely to the most neglected of the major genres in the history of Ukiyo-e: musha-e or images of warriors. These works recreate in vivid detail the tales of great heroes and battles of Japanese history, especially from the tenth through sixteenth centuries. The publication is divided into two parts. The first is an ‘Introduction’ to the genre of musha-e, including a discussion of the evolution of the genre and the various influences that came to play on its development. The second comprises a ‘Catalogue’ of over 200 full-colour illustrations dating from the mid-seventeenth to twentieth centuries which have been grouped into sixteen subject categories.

The Hundred Poets Compared

A Print Series by Kuniyoshi, Hiroshige, and Kunisada

Henk Herwig and Joshua S. Mostow

The Hundred Poets Compared is about a 100-print series made by three famous Ukiyo-e artists of the 19th century: Kuniyoshi, Hiroshige, and Kunisada. Each print compares one of the poems from the most-beloved collection of Japanese poetry, The One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each ( Hyakunin Isshu), with a scene from Japanese history or theatre. Begun during the repressive Tenpô Reforms, the series includes many surreptitious portraits of popular actors. Herwig and Mostow explain each episode depicted and its connection to its particular poem, providing a translation of the commentary text on each print and the identification of actors and performances. This work will be welcome to Ukiyo-e collectors and scholars, as well as those interested in Kabuki and Japanese legends.

A Brush With Animals [hardback]

Japanese Paintings 1700-1950

Robert Schaap

Japan has a long and rich tradition of using animal imagery in works of art. A Brush with Animals. Japanese Painting 1700-1950 gives an overview of Japanese animal painting, covering some 250 years, with an emphasis on works by artists of the naturalistic Shijô School. It illustrates the wonderful variety of animals that figure in Japanese iconography, including the 12 animals of the zodiac and many mythological creatures. The reader is thus taken on a tour through the animal kingdom, which is profusely illustrated with no less than 300 colour images. A selection of essays explains in great detail the stories and legends behind the animal imagery and provides background information on the practical aspects and social context of Japanese hanging scroll paintings. A useful tool for the collector and a delight for anyone sensitive to the beauty of Japanese art.
A Brush with Animals was selected from collections of members of the Society for Japanese Arts (private and museum collections), to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Society. Many of the paintings are published here for the first time.

Chikanobu

Modernity and Nostalgia in Japanese Prints

Bruce Coats

Chikanobu. Modernity and Nostalgia in Japanese Prints is the first monograph in English on the Meiji print artist Yōshū Chikanobu (1838-1912), well known for his depictions of women and scenes of Japanese history and legends. Author Bruce A. Coats presents a detailed overview of Chikanobu’s life and works, placed within the historical and artistic context of Meiji Japan, when its rapid modernization and westernization created an interest for ‘old’ Japan among the Japanese and when the arts underwent significant changes as well.
Essays by Bruce A. Coats, Allen Hockley, Kyoko Kurita and Joshua Mostow draw upon various topics related to Chikanobu’s work, such as Meiji literature and the heroic ethos in the late Meiji period.
Works donated to the Scripps College collection form the core of the illustrative material. The images are accompanied by elaborate descriptions and in a number of cases compared with similar designs from other artists. Two of Chikanobu’s well known series of 50 prints each, Snow, Moon, Flowers ( Setsugekka) and Eastern Brocades: Day and Night Compared ( Azuma nishiki chūya kurabe) are illustrated in their entirety. And with over 270 full color illustrations, Chikanobu. Modernity and Nostalgia in Japanese Prints truly displays the richness of the intense Meiji print palette.

Haiku & Haiga

Moments in Word and Image

Ron Manheim

This bilingual (German/English) publication supports the exhibition Haiku & Haiga – Augenblicke in Wort und Bild – Japanische Rollbilder aus vier Jahrhunderten, held in Museum Schloss Moyland (Bedburg-Hau, Germany) in April 2006. This selection of beautiful Japanese scrolls shows the poetic power of the combination of the word and the image. The texts on all 78 exhibited objects are published in Japanese (in kanji and in transcription) as well as in German/English translation, supplemented with comments. Contributions by specialists among which Prof. Dr. Ekkehard May, Dr. Anna Beerens and Dr. Dan McKee.

Heroes of the Grand Pacification

Kuniyoshi’s Taiheiki eiyū den

Elena Varshavskaya

The book introduces the print-series Taiheiki eiyū den or Heroic Biographies from the 'Tale of Grand Pacification', designed by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861), who is considered the founder of the heroic genre in Japanese prints. The series is devoted to the final years of the sixteenth century civil wars and the key figure of the day, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536?–98).
All fifty prints of the series are reproduced in full color. Each print is accompanied by a translation of the extensive texts incorporated into the composition and detailed historical and cultural commentaries. The introductory essay reviews the peculiarities of Kuniyoshi’s warrior images, explores the roots of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s popularity and discusses the texts in the prints as a source of information on the late medieval warriors’ outlook and battlefield practices.