Synopses & Reviews
This volume is the first comprehensive look at the Ashmolean Museum's significant works that range in date from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries, many of which are illustrated in color. A full sixty of the finest paintings are discussed in detail individually, divided into sections based on the major schools of painting active in Japan from the Edo period (1615-1868) to the modern era. Throughout the discussion, the book highlights the work of artists outside the traditional cultural centers of Edo and Kyoto by including artworks by Nagasaki- and Osaka-based artists whose paintings will be less familiar to a Western audience. In addition, the catalogue focuses on painting formats that reached their peak of expression during this era such as painted albums and fan paintings, both of which became advantageous choices for artists working in a variety of styles. A supplementary section of about a hundred further works is included to give the reader a greater understanding of the breadth of the Ashmolean's holdings. An introductory essay by Dr. Oliver Impey, Keeper of Japanese Art at the Ashmolean Museum, recounts the formation of the collection. A second essay by Janice Katz, former Sackler Fellow, is an in-depth look at two previously unpublished painted albums of the nineteenth century. The catalogue complements the exhibition, 'Japanese paintings: Legend and landscape', which was on view from October 2003 to January 2004 at the Ashmolean Museum.