A new exhibit, “Early Masters: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Edo Period,” is on display now through December 10, 2021, in the Hodges Reading Room in Jackson Library.
The Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to offer this exhibit in collaboration with the Weatherspoon Art Museum’s exhibit, “Seven Masters: 20th-Century Japanese Woodblock Prints.” The Hodges Reading Room is open to the public from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Japanese print masters of the latter part of the Edo Period (1615 – 1868) incorporated new technologies to produce single-sheet prints in a wide array of colors. These prints often featured geisha and famous Kabuki actors. In time, due to changes in taste and the influence of the Western market, their subject matter extended to include scenic vistas and famous landmarks. This exhibit highlights several well-known masters, including Toyonobu, Utamaro, Harunobu, Hokusai, and Hiroshige, among others.
Materials on display in the Hodges Reading Room reflect the broad selection of resources available in our Rare Books Collection relating to the art of Japanese prints and the manufacture of Washi paper. Of special note are the Grabhorn Press editions featuring the Japanese print collection of Marjorie and Edwin Grabhorn, published for the Book Club of California as well as specimen books of Washi papers, some of which are no longer widely made. Washi is a centuries-old process, elevating the concept of paper from functional medium for the transmission of knowledge to art form.
Written by Carolyn Shankle