hiroshige’s edo: ukiyo-e woodblock prints of tokyo

‘Hiroshige’s Edo: Masterful ukiyo-e woodblock prints of Tokyo in the mid-19th century’ is a new book from Taschen which contains the most gorgeous images. Literally meaning “pictures of the floating world”, ukiyo-e refers to the famous Japanese woodblock print genre that originated in the 17th century and is practically synonymous with the Western world’s visual characterization of Japan. Because they could be mass produced, ukiyo-e works were often used as designs for fans, New Year’s greeting cards, single prints, and book illustrations, and traditionally they depicted city life, entertainment, beautiful women, kabuki actors, and landscapes. This reprint is made from one of the finest complete original sets of woodblock prints belonging to the Ota Memorial Museum of Art in Tokyo.

Hiroshige (1797-1858) was one of the last great artists in the ukiyo-e tradition. Though he captured a variety of subjects, his greatest talent was in creating landscapes of his native Edo (modern-day Tokyo) and his final masterpiece was a series known as “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo” (1856-1858). The stunning artwork in the book would be perfect from framing, that is if you don’t mind taking out pages out of this €150 book.

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  • beautiful… I agree – how poetic it would be to frame those prints. Seeing them every morning while trying to get up and starting a new day!

  • Beautiful I agree but it seems a shame to pull apart a book to frame a few images. Keep it as a book (as intended) and turn the pages.