The Birth of Japanese Illustrated Books:
“Koetsu Thirty-six Immortal Poets” and Screen Painting
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Dr. Jun Suzuki, National Institute of Japanese Literature
The 18th century book, “Kôetsu Sanjûrokkasen (Koetsu Thirty-six Immortal Poets)” in the Freer Gallery of Art Library is believed to be the very first poetry book focusing on illustrations rather than text. But was it originally a book? Two other copies of this work (in the New York Public Library and Tenri University Library) were produced in different formats--a scroll and as set of loose sheets.
Paintings of “Sanjûrokkasen” were traditionally appreciated as framed pictures, fusuma doors or screen paintings. Japanese painting traditionally had a close relationship with screens and there was a huge demand for painted screens. Consequently many painting manuals or sample books for painters were produced, which might have promoted the development of illustrated books.
In this illustrated lecture Dr. Suzuki will explore the relationship between screens and picture books in the 17th and 18th centuries.
A reception follows the lecture.
The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Sackler Conference Room, Level S2 (in the Sackler office suite)
Head, Scholarly Programs and Publications
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
PO Box 37012, MRC 707
Washington DC 20013-7012
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1050 Independence Ave.
Washington, DC 20560
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