Late-Ming Erotic Book Illustrations and the Origins of Ukiyo-e Prints
Ukiyo-e prints, the popular Japanese polychrome woodcuts of the ‘floating world’, evolved from the popular illustrated literature of the early Edo period (1603-1867). The recent discovery of an important group of colour-printed Chinese illustrated books from the early seventeenth century in a Japanese collection sheds new light on our understanding of the sources of ukiyo-e prints. This talk will introduce these late-Ming erotic book illustrations and demonstrate the influential role of Chinese books imported to Japan prior to and during the Edo period. It will be suggested that underlying the quintessentially Japanese art of ukiyo-e prints is a foundation of Chinese inspiration and technology.
Soren Edgren is editorial director of the Chinese Rare Books Project at Princeton University. He received his PhD in sinology from the University of Stockholm, and he writes on the history of the book and printing in East Asia.