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Japanese Woodblock Prints

Japanese Woodblock Prints


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The Japanese print features stunning natural settings, erotic themes, supernatural beings, and celebrates sumo wrestlers and kabuki actors as cultural icons. This condensed release highlights the most extraordinary prints created between 1680 to 1938, sourced from top-tier museum and private collections globally.

This volume, a more compact edition of the XXL monograph, offers a glimpse into a widely admired yet often misunderstood art style by showcasing the finest Japanese woodblock prints within their historical framework. Spanning from the 17th-century emergence of luxurious ukiyo-e, or “pictures of the floating world,” to the decline and subsequent revival of prints in the early 20th century, the selections featured in this edition provide a matchless documentation not only of a distinct genre in art history, but also of the changing values and cultural progress of Japan.

From the mysteries of mountains and snow-covered passes to portraits of samurai warriors and glimpses of the lives of sex workers displayed in shop windows, each woodblock print is an exquisite work of art that illuminates the stories and individuals behind its carefully crafted designs. This comprehensive guide explores the four main themes of beauties, actors, landscapes, and bird-and-flower compositions, as well as depictions of sumo wrestlers, kabuki performers, and seductive courtesans who were the "rock stars" of the "floating world" and whose fame drove the constant production of woodblock prints. Delving into the realm of the macabre and the obscure, we are presented with prints featuring demons, ghosts, cannibals, and other unearthly creatures that continue to inspire Japanese manga, film, and video games to this very day. Witness the incredible range of subjects, from everyday life to erotica, martial arts to mythology, all unified by the technical perfection and impeccable artistic vision of their

  • English edition
  • Product Type: Monograph, Hardcover
  • 512 pages
  • Published in 2021
  • Shipping Dimensions: 8.9 × 6.5 × 1.4 inches  (22.6 × 16.5 × 3.6 cm)
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 lb (46.4 oz; 1315 g)
  • SKU010011720 | 9783836587532

In these collections:

All Products | Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month | Books & Media | Eastern Cultures | Gifts Under $50 | Monographs | Taschen
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About the Editor

Andreas Marks

Andreas Marks studied East Asian art history at the University of Bonn and obtained his PhD in Japanology from Leiden University with a thesis on 19th-century actor prints. From 2008 to 2013 he was director and chief curator of the Clark Center for Japanese Art in Hanford, California, and since 2013 has been the Mary Griggs Burke Curator of Japanese and Korean Art and director of the Clark Center for Japanese Art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.


About the Publisher


For more than 40 years, Taschen has published high-quality art books. Whether in lavishly produced editions for collectors with nearly limitless budgets, or more compact editions with much more gentle price tags, Taschen never compromises on quality. Watch this video to learn more about how Taschen books are made.

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