About This Online Catalogue

The Pulverer Collection, acquired in its entirety by the Freer Gallery of Art in 2007, includes numerous rare and pristine examples of Japanese illustrated books produced in the Edo period and beyond. For more than thirty years Dr. Gerhard Pulverer, a renowned medical researcher in Germany, and his wife Rosemarie traveled the world and assembled the collection. Their holdings of more than 900 titles encompass almost 2,200 volumes that range in date from the early seventeenth century to the 1970s. Today the Pulverer Collection is regarded as one of the most outstanding and comprehensive collections of Japanese illustrated books outside Japan.

This site marks the initial phase of an ongoing project to make all of the volumes available online. Cataloguing is now in progress, and we are also adding short scholarly entries for many of the titles (available on the commentary tab for individual titles). We are adding new titles every month and are expanding information about these books through these essays and other features. Please note that this is a work in progress--we are regularly making updates to improve the site.

We encourage you to return often and to offer feedback on the project. Generous support from the Getty Foundation through the Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI), with additional support from the Anne van Biema Endowment Fund, has enabled the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery to make the Pulverer Collection available to researchers, bibliophiles, and art lovers around the globe.

Website User Guide

This online catalogue offers three ways of searching, and provides a set of annotation and comparison tools to use while researching the collection. For best results, it is recommended that you use the most up-to-date version of your preferred browser. You may search without setting up an account.

User Tools

To begin using these tools, you must first create an account. Please select the "My Research" page and provide a user name and valid email address, and you will soon be notified by email that your account has been created. If you later forget your password, you may request a new one by using the link on the “Log In” page. Each time you visit this site, please log in to access the user tools on the “My Research” page.


To make it easier to keep track of ideas and information, you can attach a note to any essay, video, title, volume, or image within the online catalogue. You can add notes in an essay by clicking on the + icon associated with each paragraph. For title, volume, and sheet images, select the note icon on the user tool bar at the lower right. When a note has been made these icons turn red. All notes can be managed centrally on the “My Research” page. 

Saved Searches

Save your searches by clicking the bookmark icon on the user tool bar at the lower right after the search results appear. To delete a saved search, click the X next to its name on the “My Research” page, or deselect the bookmark icon on the user tool bar at the lower right after running the search.


Individual titles, volumes, sheets, and essays may be saved as favorites for easy future access by clicking the heart icon on the user tool bar in the lower right corner. You can compare two sheet images by selecting the images and then clicking the “compare” button.


You can print images or text without having an account or being logged in to the site. Click the printer icon on the user tool bar to print individual sheet images and title or volume thumbnails. To print the desired description, contents, or commentary text for a volume, make sure that tab is currently chosen. Only one section may be printed at a time.


Use the free text search to query a word or phrase. For best results, use macrons for search terms that include them, or search with terms that do not require this diacritic. To see the entire collection currently online, leave this free text box empty and click the “Search” button.

The “Browse by Topic” searches for subject, artist, and title provide drop-down lists to assist in searching by these categories. Only one selection may be made at a time. The search will run upon choosing a topic. Occasionally individual titles or names may not appear on these drop-down lists; double-check by entering the term in the search bar (using macrons as appropriate).

“Browse by Date” presents a chronological timeline of the dates associated with titles in the collection. Selecting any of the bars in the graph will begin a search for titles associated with that year.

The Advanced Search provides the ability to query with either Roman or Kanji characters It offers search criteria of title, subject, book type, and persons associated with production of the title. Relevant content is offered as you type, but it may be overwritten. Only one item may be queried at a time.