2013 / Hanford / Clark Center / Genji’s World in Japanese Woodblock Prints, May 5 – July 27

 

20130430 Clark Azuma Genji Yuki no Niwa

Utagawa Kunisada and Utagawa Hiroshige: “Eastern Genji: The Garden in Snow” (Azuma Genji yuki no niwa).1854. Published by Moriya Jihei. Woodblock print, ink and color on paper. Paulette and Jack Lantz Collection.

The Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture in Hanford closes its summer exhibition, Genji’s World in Japanese Woodblock Prints on July 27, 2013.

After the Clark Center, the exhibition will travel to Vassar College in New York in winter 2013, and the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Florida in 2014. 

The exhibition was organized by Dr. Bruce A. Coats, Professor of Art History and Humanities, Scripps College, Claremont, Calif., where the exhibition was on view in winter 2012. Before the Clark Center, the exhibition took place at Depauw University in Indiana in spring 2012.

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The Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture in Hanford opens its new exhibition, Genji’s World in Japanese Woodblock Prints from May 5 through July 27, 2013.

The opening lecture will be given by Dr. Andreas Marks, curator of the Clark Center, on Sunday, May 5 at 2:00 pm. Seats are limited. For reservation, call the Clark Center at (559) 582-4915.

Dr. Marks is also the editor of the accompanied book of the exhibition.

In the late 1820s, the writer Ryutei Tanehiko (1783 – 1842), the print designer and book illustrator Utagawa Kunisada (1786 – 1865) and the publisher Tsuruya Kiemon worked together to publish the inaugural chapter of the serial novel A Rustic Genji by a Fraudulent Murasaki (Nise Murasaki inaka Genji).

For sixty years after the inaugural chapter, almost 1,300 original designs were created, of which many were very popular at their time of release. This new genre in Japanese woodblock prints was called Genjie or “Genji Pictures” because the serial novel A rustic Genji was inspired by 1000-year old novel The Tale of Genji.

The story of A Rustic Genji, set in fifteenth-century Japan, is in many respects drawn from the classic novel. It retells the amorous adventures of Mitsuuji – the counterpart to Genji’s Prince Genji – and is delivered in contemporary dialogue combined with kabuki theatrics.

By 1838, and concurrent with the release of new Rustic Genji chapters, woodblock-print publishers and artists set out to exploit its success through the creation of individual-sheet prints that depicted the principal characters and the most exciting scenes.

Under Kunisada’s lead, the theme enjoyed enormous popularity and the craze that gave birth to these publications peaked in the 1850s and continued into the 1860s. Over eighty publishers had Genji designs on offer, and they engaged an increasing number of artists.

The exhibition was organized by Dr. Bruce A. Coats, Professor of Art History and Humanities, Scripps College, Claremont, Calif., where the exhibition was on view in winter 2012. Other venues are: DePauw University (Greencastle, Ind.), Vassar College (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.), and the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens (Delray Beach, Fla.).

The Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture is located at 15770 Tenth Ave, Hanford, CA 93230. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 1 – 5 pm. Closed on national holidays and during the month of August.

Admissions are $5 for adults, $3 for students. Children 12 and under free.

Weekly docent tours are held Saturdays at 1 pm and guided group tours can be arranged by calling the Clark Center in advance at (559) 582-4915.  www.ccjac.org

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