The Japanese Picture Book: A Selection from the Ravicz Collection

Jack Hillier, Author ABRAMS $49.5 (135p) ISBN 978-0-8109-3503-7
Anthropologist Robert Ravicz has collected more than 800 Japanese woodblock-printed picture books, an art form little known in the West. Astonishingly varied in subject matter, these exquisite picture books virtually constitute an ethnographic record of Japanese life and culture, portraying childbirth, body language, dress, festivals, eroticism, eating, humor, travel, work, play and customs. Yet the primary appeal of this jewel of a book will be to the art lover. The hushed mystery of Ryotai Kanyosai's Three Hares in the Snow (1762), the wonderfully concise shorthand of Keisai Masayoshi's Elephants (1797), the uncanny fusion of Western and Japanese styles in Akamatsu Rinsaku's Kobe Wharf (1916) and the universal tragedy implicit in Takehisa Yumeji's abject Sorrowing Woman (1920) call to mind the finest Japanese painting. Hillier ( The Art of the Japanese Book ) explicates the 124 illustrations with a deft touch. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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