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Japanese Prints at the Library of Congress
June 27, 2017
Woodblock print by Andō Hiroshige, 1797-1858, showing a view of Mount Fuji from Satta Point in the Suruga Bay, with breaking waves in the foreground.
High resolution images of more than 2,500 Japanese prints and drawings, spanning the 17th through early 20th centuries, can be viewed and downloaded on the Library of Congress website. The collection includes scenes depicting actors, women, Western foreigners, landscapes, and daily life by Hiroshige, Kuniyoshi, Sadahide, Yoshiiku and others.
"The Library acquired its Japanese woodblock print holdings from a host of different donors and collectors including Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, President William Howard Taft, Crosby Stuart Noyes, and Emily Crane Chadbourne," writes the Library on its website. "Many schools, traditions, and genres are represented, notably surimono, privately distributed prints combining pictures and poetry, and prints from the Russo-Japanese and Sino-Japanese wars. However, the primary strengths of the collection are the Japanese art forms known as Ukiyo-e and Yokohama-e."
With summer—and summertime tourism—in full swing, we've selected several scenes depicting travel for your viewing pleasure, below.
Woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai, 1760-1849: Dawn at Isawa in Kai Province, showing porters carrying bundles and sedan chairs, and travelers departing at dawn, with view of Mount Fuji in the distance.
Woodblock print by Andō Hiroshige, 1797-1858. Print shows five travelers fording a stream, each carrying either a person or a bundle on their back, low buildings in the background, at the Fujieda station on the Tōkaidō Road.
Utagawa Hiroshige, 1826?-1869. Enshū akiba enkei fukuroi no tako (distant view of Akiba of Enshu: kites of Fukuroi), showing people flying kites with open fields and mountains in the distance.
Ikeda Eisen, 1790-1848. Print shows farmers at a mill getting their grain ground on a millstone in front of the miller's establishment; a traveler and a porter pass by, looking back at the operation.
Woodcut by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1798-1861, showing the stream of Asazawa with view of Mount Fuji from the hot springs at Hakone.
Woodblock print by Andō Hiroshige, 1797-1858, showing travelers resting at a teahouse or inn at the Mariko station on the Tōkaidō Road.