Pictures of the Floating World: An Introduction to Japanese Prints
Sarah E. Thompson
Abbeville Press, 2022
In Edo Japan, woodblock prints known as ukiyo-e (“pictures of the Floating World”) captured the entertainment culture of the urban elite and eventually many other subjects as well. These beautiful prints were the result of a meticulous craft process, in which an artist’s initial drawing was translated by expert carvers into multiple printing blocks for different colours. In this attractive volume, Sarah E. Thompson, curator of Japanese art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, provides a highly readable overview of the cultural and artistic history of ukiyo-e, showcasing 120 exceptional prints from the museum’s world-class collection, by masters including Utamaro, Hokusai, and Hiroshige. She explores each of the principal genres in turn: beauty and fashion, the kabuki theatre, landscape, nature, history and literature, and fantasy. Pictures of the Floating World features a traditional Japanese stab binding and is housed in a durable slipcase together with three remarkable prints, suitable for framing. It will be a must-have for all art lovers.