Synopses & Reviews
In recent years the surimono collection of the Prentenkabinet of the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum has grown substantially due to two major donations and a dynamic acquisition policy. Presently consisting of more than 700 surimono, the Prentenkabinet collection is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world. Having been partly cataloged in a variety of ways in the past, it was deemed necessary to create a single-volume catalog devoted exclusively to these treasures. Prof Dr Matthi Forrer has meticulously reviewed all previous descriptions, revised dates, corrected readings of poet's names and the poems, and even reclassified some prints as 'copies'. New acquisitions have also been included.
Surimono (literally printed things ) constitute one of the most delicate genres in Japanese printmaking. This genre fascinates because it combines poetry and image and because it presents a pictorial puzzle, which provides the viewer with a particular insight into the intellectual and literary world of late 18th- and early 19th-century Edo (today s Tokyo). Major artists such as Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Kunisada, Totoya Hokkei and Yashima Gakutei, to name but a few, provided imagery to accompany the poetic exploits of poetry club members. The prints were circulated among networks of poets and friends and, in contrast to other prints of the period, were not produced for commercial gain. Intricate still lifes, historical and mythical heroes, actors on the stage and tranquil landscapes form a visual partnership with the witty poems (ky ka). The beauty of these prints is enhanced by the astonishing printing quality, including the use of metallic pigments and blindprinting. The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam is home to one of the most important collections of surimono in the world. Two recent major donations have enriched the collection to such a degree that a publication documenting the complete surimono holdings of the museum is justified. The true beauty of the collection can now be appreciated in full, with all the prints illustrated in colour for the first time. Matthi Forrer s deep understanding of poetry circles and of the major artists of the time has resulted in numerous revisions of the existing descriptions and of previously established chronologies within the genre. Surimono in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam is thus an essential work of reference and at the same time a source of endless aesthetic enjoyment."
This catalogue includes more than 600 "surimono" drawn from the splendid Amsterdam Rijksmuseum collection of Japanese prints. "surimono" (lit. a ~printed objecta (TM)) are privately published prints inscribed with a dedication or poem that reflects upon everyday themes. All "surimono" are reproduced in color along with extensive descriptions by Matthi Forrer. This publication will be an important reference work in the study of "surimono."