Tag Archives: museum of fine art boston

浮世絵

16 Nov

I like 浮世絵 (ukiyoe: Japanese woodblock prints).

Have you ever seen 浮世絵 (ukiyoe)?
It’s a traditional style of Japanese “painting“. Instead of using a brush, the picture is carved into woodblocks which are used like a printing press to make the picture.
But the whole picture isn’t carved into one block…different parts of the picture are carved into different blocks. So the picture is printed in layers.

It must have been alot of work!

I have seen a number of 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) exhibits at museums over the years.

As with many people, my favorite artists are 北斎 (Hokusai) and 広重 (Hiroshige).

One of the most famous (if not the most famous) 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) works is 神奈川沖波裏 (“The Great Wave Off Of Kanagawa“) by 北斎 (Hokusai):

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I like that picture alot, too. But my personal favorites are the 妖怪 (monsters):

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浮世絵 (ukiyoe) subjects aren’t usually 妖怪 (monsters) though. Common themes of 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) are 相撲 (sumo), 歌舞伎 (kabuki), 芸者 (geisha) and 自然 (nature).

Anyways, this month, the 江戸東京博物館 (Edo-Tokyo Museum) in Tokyo is having a couple of special exhibits.

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One is the 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) collection from The Museum Of Fine Arts, Boston of America, and the other is a 「浅草今昔」 (“Asakusa: Then And Now“) exhibit.

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I went to see them yesterday. It was pretty crowded in the museum because it was a Saturday, but it was enjoyable. As I said, I like 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) and I also like 下町 (traditional downtown areas of Japan) like 浅草 (Asakusa).

The 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) in the exhibit from the Boston Museum were items that were from three American’s personal collections.

It was interesting to see the types of art that Americans like to collect compared to the types of 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) that a Japanese person might choose.
Americans seem to like the very colorful, almost flashy pieces…but Japanese tastes tend to be more simple. I’ve lived in Japan for awhile now…I guess my style is more Japanese now.
It’s just an observation. Not to say one culture is better than another…just interesting to compare.

Inside the museum, there are places that it’s indicated that it’s OK to take a photo…but the 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) and 浅草今昔 (Asakusa: Then And Now) areas were marked 「撮影禁止」, which means “No Photography Allowed”, so I couldn’t take any photos of those exhibits.

But there was a traditional Japanese dance show at the museum that I was able to take a few videos of.

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I took eight short video of this group, and uploaded them to My YouTube Page. They’re pretty good, click here to visit my YouTube page and you can see all of my videos.

Here’s one video of them:

After the museum, we walked to 浅草 (Asakusa), and visited a Japanese Garden there.

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There was a man at the Japanese garden playing a 三味線 (Shamisen) which is a traditional Japanese instrument.
I took this video of him: