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Mount Fuji

Sacred Mountain of Japan

Chris Uhlenbeck and Merel Molenaar

Mount Fuji has always stirred the imagination of artists. Many Japanese print artists, including some of the greatest like Hokusai and Hiroshige, have attempted to capture the spirit of this mountain in their designs. This book offers an overview of the many faces of Mount Fuji as seen through the eyes of such artists. The introduction focusses on Mount Fuji in mythology, early portrayal, pilgrimage history, and its depiction in Japanese prints - in particular, the work of Hokusai and Hiroshige. The catalogue contains further chapters on Mount Fuji from the Tōkaidō, Fuji and the Chushingura drama, Fuji and poetry (surimono), Fuji seen from Edo (present-day Tokyo) and Fuji: The thirty-six views.

Series:

A courtesan's day in the carefree atmosphere of the famous pleasure quarter the Yoshiwara in Edo (present-day Tokyo) was carefully planned to an hourly schedule. This sequence of 12 and later 24 hours proved a convenient device for Japanese print artists and their publishers when devising sets of prints showing favourite beauties of the day engaged in daily activities.
In this second volume of Hotei Publishing's Famous Japanese Prints Series, three sets centred on the theme of the hours of the clock in the pleasure quarters are discussed in detail:
• Kitagawa Utamaro's The Twelve Hours of the 'Green Houses' ( Seirō jūnitoki, c. 1794)
• Tsukioka Yoshitoshi's Twenty-four Hours in Shinbashi and Yanagibashi ( Shinryū nijūyoji, 1880-81)
• Toyohara Kunichika's Scenes of the Twenty-four Hours, A Prictorial Trope ( Mitate chūya nijūyoji, 1890-91)
A contextual and visual analysis of these works by the authors provides the reader with an insight into the broader cultural and artistic milieu of the early and later nineteenth century.

Chris Uhlenbeck and Marije Jansen

Hiroshige Shaping the Image of Japan
is a comprehensive overview of Hiroshige's work as a woodblock print artist. Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) is one of the great masters in the history of Japanese printmaking and this publication coincides with the 150th anniversary of his death. Hiroshige has worked in virtually every genre of ukiyo-e or 'images of the floating world'. He designed prints of beautiful women and brave heroes, but achieved his greatest fame through his depictions of the Japanese landscape, showing famous places in different seasons and at various times of day. These landscape prints, with their bright colors and strong compositions, were not only popular in Japan, but also found favor with European artists at the turn of the 19th century.

The main body of this publication includes a general introduction, sketching the cultural and economic environment of the artist Hiroshige, the development of his oeuvre, and the rise of his his artistic reputation in Japan and the West. This is followed by a chronological presentation of 140 full-color prints, selected from public and private collections.

Biographical data are sparse and only very few details of his life help explain the nature of his output. However, by carefully piecing together the information which can be gleaned from the works themselves, and combining it with the current knowledge on print production methods, the authors present a picture of Hiroshige as an artist-cum-craftsman who efficiently produced for his publishers, creating in the process an image of Japan which endures until this day.


Of Brigands and Bravery

Kuniyoshi's Heroes of the Suikoden

Inge Klompmakers

Of brigands and bravery: Kuniyoshi’s heroes of the Suikoden is the first monograph in English on the stunning series of 74 prints illustrating figures from the Suikoden by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), one of the outstanding Japanese woodblock-print masters of the 19th century.

The Suikoden (commonly known in English as The water margin) is the Japanese adaptation of the 14th-century Chinese vernacular novel, the Shui hu zhuan, which recounts the exploits of a group of rebels on Mount Liang (J. Ryösanpaku) under the lead of the brave and righteous Song Jiang. The Suikoden was enormously popular in Japan during the 19th century. It was Kuniyoshi’s initial designs for the single-sheet print series The one hundred and eight heroes of the popular Suikoden (Tsüzoku Suikoden göketsu hyakuhachinin no hitori) - in which the full-length portraits of the heroes are charged with a new sense of dynamism - that spurred a Suikoden craze in Edo (present-day Tokyo).

Of brigands and bravery reproduces the 74 known designs of the series in full colour; each is accompanied by an explanatory text. The publication also offers supplementary information on topics relating specifically to the series such as tattooing: a number of the Suikoden figures are adorned with tattoos and it is thought that Kuniyoshi himself had a passion for this art. In addition, Kuniyoshi’s illustration of a variety of armour and dress types, his at times graphic portrayal of the heroes in battle and his integration of western stylistic devices are testimony to the creative genius behind the Suikoden series.

Printed to Perfection

Twentieth-century Japanese Prints from the Robert O. Muller Collection

Edited by Amy Reigle Newland

Robert O. Muller can be considered the most important collector in the world of 20th century Japanese prints. He amassed over 4500 designs, tracing back the artistic developments of the past century to the Meiji period (1868-1912).
His holdings, now in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., include the finest possible examples of artists specialized in the portrayal of female beauty such as Hashiguchi Goyô (1880-1921), Itô Shinsui (1898-1972) and Torii Kotondo (1900-1976), the earliest and best works of the two major landscape artists Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) and Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) as well as numerous works by other, less famous artists providing a comprehensive and fascinating overview of the Shin hanga ('New Print') movement.
Robert O. Muller's exquisite taste and critical attitude has resulted in a collection in the finest imaginable condition. The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Art staged the first major exhibition from this collection in the months of November and December of 2004.
This catalogue accompanies the first exhibition from the donation to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Art of over 4000 prints by the American collector Robert O. Muller, held November 6 2004-2 January 2005.

A Brush With Animals [paperback]

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.