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Slip cased book, Katsushika Hokusai's woodblock print 'Chinese Bellflower and Dragonfly' to cover.

Pictures of the Floating World

An Introduction to Japanese Prints

By (author) Sarah E. Thompson


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  • A beautifully packaged, affordable introduction to the perennially popular subject of Japanese prints
  • Published in cooperation with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and illustrated with 120 outstanding works from their collection
  • Written by MFA curator Sarah E. Thompson, a noted expert on Japanese prints
  • Exceptional production values: a paperback with a Japanese stab binding housed in a slipcase along with three frameable prints
Full Description

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.

About the Author

Sarah E. Thompson is a curator of Japanese art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and creator of the MFA’s digital catalogue of over 50,000 prints. She has curated numerous exhibitions at the MFA and elsewhere, including Tattoos in Japanese Prints. Her most recent books include Genji: The Prince and the Parodies and Hokusai’s Landscapes: The Complete Series.

Look Inside
Abbeville Press
6th Oct 2022
Paperback / softback
World excluding USA, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Australia
228 mm x 178 mm
176 Pages
120 color
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