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Images of the Floating World - Japanese prints in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston



This richly illustrated book invites the reader to discover the art of ukiyoe ("images of the floating World"), the most relevant artistic phenomenon of Japan of the Edo era (1603-1868). Through 120 splendid prints by the greatest masters, coming from the extraordinary collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, it provides a complete overview of the cultural and artistic history of this movement. The prints made in Japan between the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 20th century revolutionized the visual culture of the time, allowing even those who did not belong to the ruling elite to enjoy works of art created by true artists in their homes, who staged the city's entertainment culture, known as the Floating World (ukiyo), through paintings, illustrated books but above all colorful woodcuts.

Reasons of interest:

  • A fascinating volume with an elegant Japanese binding, presented in a solid slipcase
  • 120 extraordinary prints by great masters such as Utamaro, Hokusai and Hiroshige, representing fashions and entertainment of the upper classes of the Edo period
  • Sarah E. Thompson, famous expert on Japanese prints, explores the main themes of ukiyoe: fashion and beauty, kabuki theater, city and countryside, nature, history and literature, fantasy worlds
  • An indispensable book for enthusiasts, but also suitable for those who discover the great charm of these woodcuts for the first time

Box format:
Box containing:
a 192 page book
Format 19 × 24.3 cm
4 color printing
Japanese binding
ISBN: 9782889751518
September 22, 2023

SARAH E. THOMPSON is curator of the Japanese art department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the largest collection of Japanese art outside of Japan. With degrees in linguistics from Harvard and Japanese art from Columbia, she taught Japanese and Asian art history at Vassar College, Oberlin College and the University of Oregon before moving on to the MFA in 2004, of which she created the Online digital catalog of the collection with over 50,000 Japanese prints. He has curated numerous exhibitions both at the MFA and at other institutions, including one recently in Italy dedicated to Hiroshige.