Ehon: The Artist And The Book In Japan
Ehon: The Artist and the Book in Japan
Ehon - or "picture books"- are part of an incomparable 1,200-year-old Japanese tradition. Created by artists and craftsmen, most ehon also feature essays, poems, or other texts written in beautiful, distinctive calligraphy. They are by nature collaborations: visual artists, calligraphers, writers, and designers join forces with papermakers, binders, block cutters, and printers. The books they create are strikingly beautiful, highly charged microcosms of deep feeling, sharp intensity, and extraordinary intelligence. In the elegant, richly illustrated Ehon: The Artist and the Book in Japan, renowned scholar Roger S. Keyes traces the history and evolution of these remarkable books through seventy key works, including many great rarities and unique masterpieces, from the Spencer Collection of the New York Public Library, one of the foremost collections of Japanese illustrated books in the West.
The earliest ehon were made as religious offerings or talismans, but their great flowering began in the early modern period (1600-1868) and has continued, with new media and new styles and subjects, to the present. Shiohi no tsuto (Gifts of the Ebb Tide, 1789; often called The Shell Book) by Kitagawa Utamaro, one of the supreme achievements of the ehon tradition, is reproduced...