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Authors: Yamaguchi, Mai
Advisors: Watsky, Andrew M.
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Keywords: 19th century
Book history
Painting manuals
Printed books of pictures
Subjects: Art history
Asian history
Asian studies
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation explores the role printed books of pictures played within society in nineteenth-century Japan. The titles of such publications often used a term that combined a Chinese character for picture and book; illustrations constituted the bulk of the book, with text appearing in the form of prefaces or advertisements. Scholars have characterized these pictorial books as painting manuals for amateur painters, but this study considers the wider uses the books had to a growing readership. The books engaged a broad audience with their promise of cultural competency and provided a means of cultivating viewing and connoisseurship skills. Through the case studies of three books, this dissertation offers an alternative understanding of how readers read books of pictures. Printed picture books were relatively inexpensive objects that could circulate easily from one person to another through various networks. This type of book allowed readers from diverse backgrounds to access a world of images that was previously limited to those who could afford to buy paintings or participated in elite social circles. The genre first developed in China but took on a different life in Japan as publishers adapted the content of painting manuals to suit the needs and demands of their own readers. As the genre became more common, the content gradually moved away from the pedagogical to the visually striking, offering viewers an array of works in the pictorial mode of famous artists. Some books departed from simply showing images to actively involving the hand of its readers. Though the genre slowly disappeared in the early twentieth century in Japan, the illustrations experienced new uses as the books traveled across the ocean and into the hands of early Western Japanophiles. This dissertation rethinks the potential of printed illustrated books as a way of understanding how those outside of the privileged few viewed, appreciated, and learned about images in early modern Japan.
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Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

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