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Edo: Art in Japan, 1615–1868

Robert T. Singer with John T. Carpenter, Hollis Goodall, Victor Harris, Matthew McKelway, Herman Ooms, Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere, Henry D. Smith II, Sharon S. Takeda, and Melinda Takeuchi
Published 1998
480 pages

The Edo period is one of the richest in the history of Japanese art, but only in recent decades has it become a focus of art-historical study in Japan. “Edo” refers both to the city of Edo—now called Tokyo—and to a time period, from 1615 to 1868, during which fifteen generations of Tokugawa shogun, or feudal overlords, ruled Japan from this urban capital. The political stability of the period enabled a vibrant popular culture to develop, and new styles of artistic expression appeared throughout Japan. The term Edo now connotes a distinctive aesthetic sensibility that spans a wide range of art forms, including screen paintings, scrolls, sculptures, ceramics, lacquers, textiles, and woodblock prints. This catalog accompanied the first large-scale exhibition covering the entire Edo period to be held in the United States.

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