Ukiyo-e reference books

I’ve been an admirer of Japanese wood block prints ever since I bought my first art postcards in Paris. When I went to the Kuniyoshi exposition in Leiden, I looked around for a good reference book.┬áThe Siebold Huis sells art books with large Ukiyo-e prints, but the prices for those books started at 60 euro’s! :O

Eventually I found Ukiyo-e: 250 years of Japanese Art, a gigantic book that’s so large that it doesn’t fit in my bookcase! It normally costs around 60 pounds, but luckily I was able to get it second-hand. It offers an overview of Ukiyo-e prints through the times, which means it contains traditional images such as portraits of actors and famous warriors, but also more modern work.

book Cover of Ukiyo-e: 250 years of Japanese Art
Cover of Ukiyo-e: 250 years of Japanese Art


Contents of the book 'Ukiyo-e: 250 years of Japanese Art' featuring two works of Hiroshige
Contents of the book featuring two works of Hiroshige

Later I found another book at De Slegte called the Visual Encyclopedia of Chinese and Japanese Art, which besides art prints contains photos of Asian art objects.

Cover of the Visual Encyclopedia of Chinese and Japanese Art
Cover of the Visual Encyclopedia of Chinese and Japanese Art
Contents of the Visual Encyclopedia of Chinese and Japanese Art with two prints by Kunisada and Yoshitoshi
Contents of the book with two prints by Kunisada and Yoshitoshi

I’m also thinking of buying (one? a few? all of them?) reference books for Japanese patterns. However, they seem to be very expensive and hard to come by. I’m still in doubt whether it’s worth the splurge. Besides, I can probably copy some of the patterns off the kimono’s in the big book.

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