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Painting the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Masterpieces from the Weston Collection


The cover of the exhibition catalogue for "Painting the Floating World," highlighting a painting of two women with elaborate dress and hairstyles.

The Art Institute of Chicago, 2018

Purchase from the Art Institute Museum Shop. Available to booksellers from Yale University Press.

From the 17th through the 19th century, artists in Kyoto and Edo (now Tokyo) captured the metropolitan amusements of the floating world (ukiyo in Japanese) through depictions of subjects such as the beautiful women of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters and performers of the kabuki theater. In contrast to ukiyo-e prints by artists such as Katsushika Hokusai, which were widely circulated, ukiyo-e paintings were specially commissioned, unique objects that displayed the maker’s technical skill and individual artistic sensibility.
Featuring more than 150 works from the celebrated Weston Collection, the most comprehensive of its kind in private hands and published here for the first time in English, this lavishly illustrated and meticulously researched volume addresses the genre of ukiyo-e painting in all its complexity. Individual essays explore topics such as shunga (erotica), mitate-e (images that parody or transform a well-known story or legend), and poetic inscriptions, revealing the crucial role that ukiyo-e painting played in a sophisticated urban culture.

Edited by Janice Katz and Mami Hatayama

Contributions by Timothy Clark, Murato Takako, Helen M. Nagata, Nagata Seiji, Jennifer Preston, Sara Sumpter, and Tanya Uyeda

350 pages, 9 1/4 x 13 in.
230 color ills., including 8 gatefolds

Hardcover $65.00 ($58.50 members)
ISBN: 978-0-300-23691-0


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