Envisioning Edo's Splendor: "The Floating World" and Beyond

February 3 - July 19, 2009
Ripin Print Gallery

This exhibition—presenting a selection of Japanese prints from the Allen’s extensive collection—has been designed as a broad overview of the history, technique, and subject matter of ukiyo-e, or “pictures of the floating world.” Using Edo (modern day Tokyo) and its many pleasurable distractions as a starting point, the exhibition paints a picture of Japanese culture and society through times of peace and prosperity, as well as economic and political unrest. The majority of the works are drawn from the Mary A. Ainsworth bequest of 1950, a collection of nearly 1,500 prints celebrated for its breadth and rarity of impression. Spanning nearly three hundred years, the works on view represent several key categories: early technique; kabuki actors and courtesans; historical legend and literary themes; landscapes; and modern prints, including such masters as Okumura Masanobu, Kitagawa Utamaro, Toshusai Sharaku, Utagawa Hirokage, and Katsushika Hokusai.

Organized by Abbe Schriber (OC '09) and Assistant Professor of Art Bonnie Cheng, the exhibition is a teaching resource for courses in the East Asian Studies Program and the Art Department during spring semester 2009.

Utagawa Hirokage (Japanese, 1850 - 1870)
Fox Fires at Oji, "Oji kitsunebi"
Color woodblock print
Mary A. Ainsworth Bequest, 1950