The Pulverer Collection and the World of Color-Printed Illustrated Books

The Pulverer Collection and the World of Color-Printed Illustrated Books: An Introduction to Edo-Period Masterworks

(Original unedited text in Japanese follows)

The Pulverer Collection is acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest collections of Japanese illustrated books (ehon) assembled since the end of the Edo period (1615–1868). Dr. Gerhard Pulverer amassed his collection of single-sheet prints, surimono, and paintings between the 1970s and 2000 when he was resident in Cologne, Germany. His principal consultant in their selection was Jack Hillier (1912–1995), a highly respected British scholar and expert of Japanese illustrated books. With Hillier’s advice and assistance, and through negotiations with various booksellers, antique shops, and others, Dr. Pulverer systematically compiled a broad, comprehensive collection of superb quality.

Dr. Pulverer admits that he has always been especially attracted to illustrated books: “Our ukiyo-e collection comprises three areas: prints, books, and paintings, including sketches. Personally, I love the illustrated books the most but this might due to the influence of Mr. Hillier.” 1 It is for that reason that Dr. Pulverer gradually sold many of the prints and other pieces in his collection, barring the illustrated books, after moving to Austria in 2000. He made a concerted effort to avoid the dispersion of his remaining ehon collection and sought a location that would allow it to stay intact. In 2007 the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, DC purchased the collection.

The Pulverer Collection consists of over 900 illustrated book titles produced between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries, a period spanning the early Edo to Shōwa (1926–1989) periods. Sadly, in Japan there are no comparable collections but well-known public holdings in the field outside the country include the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the British Museum, London, and the Art Institute of Chicago. In terms of quality and quantity the Pulverer Collection is equal to the holdings of illustrated books in these institutions, and it is peerless as a collection formed by a private collector.

An examination of the artists represented in the Pulverer Collection reveals the diverse range of artists, not only many figures from the world of ukiyo-e (浮世絵) but also a considerable number from the more official Rinpa (琳派), Maruyama-Shijō (円山四条), and literati (nanga 南画or bunjinga 文人画) lineages. Moreover, the works in the Pulverer Collection reflect the geographic dynamic that existed between urban centers such as Kyoto, Osaka, and Nagoya, which cultivated different tastes and sensibilities to rival the prominence of the capital Edo (present-day Tokyo). The subject matter encountered in the books is similarly myriad, including Chinese and Japanese personages, landscapes, flowering plants, and animals. The ukiyo-e books, in particular, are not simply pictorial collections, rather they are elaborate works that also contain poetry, texts of a pedagogical and historical nature in addition to information on various art forms.

The Birth and Development of Full-Color Woodblock-printed Books

What sets the Pulverer Collection apart from others of its kind is the inclusion of high-quality colored illustrated books dating from the middle to late Edo period. During this time, the main publishers in the “three capitals” (santō 三都) of Kyoto, Osaka, and Edo­, as well as Nagoya, engaged celebrated artists to collaborate with literary coteries, such as those associated with haikai and kyōka poetry, calligraphy, licensed pleasure quarters, and theater districts. These publishers built on established target markets, introducing innovative approaches and technologies to compete in the production of illustrated books. Using the rich holdings of the Pulverer Collection, I will attempt to fashion an image of the evolution of Japanese illustrated books of this era.

The first work deserving mention is Minchō shiken (Ōoka Shunboku; 1746), which is based on the 1679 Chinese Qing-dynasty painting album (gafu) Jiezhiyuan hua zhuan 芥子園畫傳 (J. Kaishien gaden; The mustard seed garden manual of painting) by Wang Gai (J. Ō Gai) Fig. 1. Two years later, in 1748, the Kyoto publisher Kōnami Shirobē (河南四郎兵衛; shop name Kōnamirō 河南楼) released the Japanese produced Kaishien gaden. What must surely have surprised the public at this time is the exquisite freshness in the faithful recreation of the original designs, achieved by having adept Kyoto block-cutters and printers join forces to implement the techniques of woodblock printing, stenciling, and hand-coloring. The coloration of Kaishien gafu influenced the later Sō Shiseki gafu Fig. 2 (1765). The vibrancy of the palette in Sō Shiseki gafuharmonizes well with the precise, finely tuned and sensitive carving, while the subjects depicted and the techniques of drawing are based on Chinese painting albums. Although this book was published in Edo, the colophon indicates that block-cutters were brought in from Kyoto for its production.

Notable among the outstanding illustrated books made in Edo are Wakana (Katsuma Ryūsui/Hanabusa Ippō,1756; FSC-GR-780.65) and Umi no sachi Fig. 3 (Katsuma Ryūsui;1762). These two works were privately published by a haikai poetry group. The former marked the seventeenth anniversary commemorating the death of the haikai poet Chōha 超波 (1702–1740), and the latter featured the realistic representation of fish and shellfish as if drawn from nature. Each contained hokku verse (a form subsumed within haikai) from various poets. Both Wakana and Umi no sachi are Edo illustrated books with haikai poetry, and they stand out for their use of color when seen from the perspective of Edo printing technology.

In 1765 the technique of polychrome printing using color woodblocks was developed in Edo. These works came to be known as Azuma nishiki-e (東錦絵), or “Brocade pictures of the East [Edo],” due to the association made with color silk brocades (nishiki).However, the first full-scale commercial application of full-color printing did not appear until 1770 with the publication of Ehon butai ōgi Fig. 4 (1770), a joint work by Katsukawa Shunshō and Ippitsusai Bunchō. Ehon butai ōgi is a collection of kabuki actors “likenesses” (nigao-e) of the three cities of Edo, Kyoto, and Osaka, and its richly colored, detailed actor portraits were positively received by theater fans. Interestingly, this work was originally published as a private publication by the Edoza group of haikai poets. 2 Also released in the same year was Ehon seirō bijin awase Fig. 5 (Suzuki Harunobu; 1770), in which hokku verses accompanied the “likenesses” of courtesans from different brothels of the Yoshiwara licensed district. Like Ehon butai ōgi, this book is also believed to have been produced and financed by a haikai group.

The year 1770 additionally witnessed the publication of Shokunin burui Fig. 6 (Tachibana Minkō) in Edo. A second edition was subsequently issued, offering us a glimpse into the popular tastes of the times. It is important to note that this book was a collaboration between the Osaka artist Tachibana Minkō, or at least a specialist Osaka printer, who provided the stenciling technique, and the Edo-based Okamoto Shōgyo 岡本松魚 (dates unknown), who produced the detailed block carving. This demonstrates that even after the development of full-color woodblock printing, the stenciling technique associated with Osaka and the Kansai region continued to be highly regarded.


From Shunshō to Utamaro

Following Suzuki Harunobu’s Ehon seirō bijin awase was Seirō bijin awase sugata kagami Fig. 7 (Katsukawa Shunshō/Kitao Shigemasa; 1776). In addition to the illustrations of courtesans in this work are select pages containing only verse. Each courtesan illustrated contributed a poem, and it has been conjectured that the brothel owners or haikai poets may have contributed financially to the project.Shunshō had already established a solid reputation primarily as an artist of bijin, or “beautiful women.” His books Nishiki hyakunin isshu azumaori (1775; FSC-GR-780.160) and Sanjūrokkasen Fig. 8 (1789) combined waka poetry with kasen-e 歌仙絵 (pictures of the “Immortal Poets,” or kasen). Nishiki hyakunin isshu azumaori was initially published with calligraphy by Shunshō in the style of Fujiwara no Teika 藤原定家 (1162–1241) and later revised with calligraphy in the style of Sayama Eiroku 猨山叡麓 (d. 1780). In 1786 Shunshō collaborated once again with Shigemasa on Ehon takara no ito (FSC-GR-780.168), which illustrated the process of sericulture. Almost a decade later, in 1795, he published Ehon matsu no shirabe (FSC-GR-780.159.1-2)that joined images with the lyrics from koto music.Both Ehon takara no ito and Ehon matsu no shirabe deal with the well-grounded topic of women’s education. Moreover, these two works had the series of single-sheet woodblock prints that were produced in advance before the book was bound.

A few years later Shin bijin awase jihitsu kagami Fig. 9  (Kitao Masanobu; 1784) followed Seirō bijin awase sugata kagami. This album anticipated the demand for handwritten calligraphy by introducing the novel idea of adding waka verse based on the courtesans’ own calligraphy. Also noteworthy is that this book is bound using the gajosō, and not fukurotoji, form of binding. In the “album,” or gajosō, type of binding the printed sheet is folded inward and pasted along the outside vertical edges to the back of the next sheet. Potentially, this type of binding could accommodate changes made to a single printed image. Masanobu designed other books such as Azumaburi kyōka gojūnin isshu (1786; FSC-GR-780.331) and Kokon kyōka bukuro (1787; FSC-GR-780.332). The primary focus of these two works was the subject of the so-called Tenmei-era (1781–1789) kyōka poets: a single kyōka poem accompanied an iconic portrait in a kasen-e style. Many similar works adopting this model would subsequently follow.

In the same year, that is 1787,Torii Kiyonaga designed the Saishiki mitsu no asa Fig. 10, which depicted an entire era of bijinga (pictures of beautiful women). At this time the publisher Tsutaya Jūzaburō 蔦屋重三郎 (Kōshodō 耕書堂; 1750–1797) became the most influential figure in the world of publishing (books and full-color prints). 3 Tsutaya promoted the artist Kitagawa Utamaro from the last year of the Tenmei era (1789) into the early Kansei era (1789–1801); Utamaro became renowned, like Kiyonaga, for his portrayals of beautiful women. Utamaro’s first work with Tsutaya was the sumptuously produced Ehon mushi erami Fig. 11 (1788). In addition to the exceptional coloration, it employed techniques such as embossing or blind-printing (karazuri), and the application of mica and gold lacquer. It also had the kyōka poems cut into the blocks of the images rather than presented as separate pages, integrating poetry with illustration.Other color woodblock-printed books by Utamaro, including the 1789 Waka Ebisu (FSC-GR-780.323), Shiohi no tsuto (FSC-GR-780.324),and Kyōgetsubō (FSC-GR-780.322), as well as Gin sekai (1790; FSC-GR-780.318), were released in rapid succession. While their subject matter might vary, they are similar in their incorporation of kyōka verse and were sponsored by the poets.  


Surimono and Publishing Controls

In 1790 the Tokugawa shogunate promulgated draconian censorship edicts regarding publishing. One of its targets was “luxurious” productions and for a short period publishers stopped printing color woodblock-printed books in accordance with the edicts. Perhaps the first instance in which publishers broke the practice of self-censorship was in 1793 with the release of Utagawa Toyohiro’s Michinokugami kyōka-awase (FSC-GR-780.735). Then, in 1794 and 1795 two kyōka bound albums entitled Haru no iro (FSC-GR-780.847/FSC-GR-780.848) were issued on the theme of spring. The editor and compiler of this book, Tsumuri no Hikaru (1754–1796), succeeded Yomo no Akara (Ōta Nanpo) as leader of the kyōka group Hakuraku-ren. The Haru no iro volumes were collaborative works involving a number of artists, including Kubo Shunman, Tsutsumi Tōrin, Suzuki Rinshō, and Tawaraya Sōri (Katsushika Hokusai): all of these individuals were primarily active in the world of surimono. Also participating were established ukiyo-e artists such as Kitao Shigemasa and Kitagawa Utamaro. Together, they vied with each other in terms of beauty and skill that went beyond stylistic schools.

Also concurrent with Haru no iro were the kyōka books entitledYomo no haru Fig. 12, which were compiled by the Sukiya-ren, a kyōka group spearheaded by another poetry master, Shikatsube no Magao (1753–1829), and published annually by Tsutaya Jūzaburō. The Pulverer Collection has a 1795 edition of this work, to which the artists Kitao Masayoshi (Kuwagata Keisai), Suzuki Rinshō, Sō Shizan, Santo Kyōden, Watanabe Gentai, and others contributed. These illustrations convey the refined, elegant realm that was in keeping with surimono and seem to mark a zenith among color woodblock-printed books. The bound albums Momo saezuri (1796; FSC-GR-780.385) and Hakuraku shū (1797; FSC-GR-780.852) serve as a bridge between the death of Hikaru in 1796 with the stepping in of editor Asakusa no Ichihito (Asakusa’an Ichihito; 1755–1821) with works such as Otoko tōka (1798; FSC-GR-780.853).

From the late Kansei until the last year of the Kyōwa era (1801–1804), the most prominent names in the sphere of color woodblock-printed books were Kitao Masayoshi and Katsushika Hokusai. In 1787 the Kyoto publisher Yoshinoya Ihachi (Eishōdō栄昌堂)—already successful with his publications of meisho, or “famous places”—released Masayoshi’s Ehon miyako no nishiki (FSC-GR-780.344). However, Masayoshi’s most popular illustrated books were clearly those executed in an “abbreviated drawing or sketch style” (ryakuga shiki 略画式), including Ryakuga shiki Fig. 13 (1795), Chōjū ryakuga shiki (1797; FSC-GR-780.342), Jinbutsu ryakuga shiki (1799; FSC-GR-780.336), and Sansui ryakuga shiki (1800; FSC-GR-780.337). They are typical model books (edehon), but their coloration is limiting in the number of colors and to the use of light colors. In 1802 he published the Tatsu no miyatsuko (FSC-GR-780.338),an album depicting fish and shellfish with accompanying poems. It was then re-published under the title Gyokaifu and subsequently as Gyokai ryakuga shiki without the names of the poets. Ultimately, all of the poems were removed but this does not detract from the spirit of the work.

Hokusai, already by this period accomplished in the world of surimono and commercial prints, continued to design color woodblock-printed illustrated books of famous places (meisho) in Edo such as Tōto shōkei ichiran (1801; FSC-GR-780.217.1-2), Ehon kyōka yama mata yama (1804; FSC-GR-780.236.1-3), and Ehon Sumidagawa ryōgan ichiran Fig. 14 (undated). These workssolidified his popularity as well as that of books dealing with Edo meisho. The influence of his work in this category of books was Ehon azuma mono mōde (1804; FSC-GR-780.800) with illustrations by Utagawa Toyohiro and text by Nansenshō Somabito.     

Illustrated Books by the Utagawa Lineage and Other Ukiyo-e Artists

in the Early Nineteenth Century

Ukiyo-eartists associated with the Utagawa school gained influence during the early years of the nineteenth century.Utagawa Toyokuni I was the most significant of these, and themes relating to the kabuki theater represent a significant portion of his illustrated books. Toyokuni’s work in this area include Yakusha sangaikyō Fig. 15 (1801) with text by Shikitei Sanba and offer a glimpse into the theater’s “third floor” (gakuya 楽屋), a term for the backstage. Other works include Yakusha konotegashiwa (1803; FSC-GR-780.744.1-2) with text by Utei Enba (1743–1822), depicting kabuki actor“likenesses,”and Yakusha awase kagami (1804; FSC-GR-780.747) with text by Asakusa no Ichihito, featuring ōkubi-e (bust portraits) of kabukiactors.Shibai kinmō zui (1803) with text by Sanba is another important work, a collaboration between Toyokuni and Katsukawa Shun’ei. The first printing of this work is in color but the copy in the Pulverer Collection is a later 1806 monochrome printing (FSC-GR-780.157.1-5). With the exception of Yakusha awase kagami, these illustrated theater books partnered noted writers of popular fiction (gesaku) in the same manner as books of popular literature such as hanashibon and kokkeibon. Other color woodblock-printed books by Toyokuni from 1802 are Ehon imayō sugata (1802; FSC-GR-780.742.1-2/1916 facsimile printing FSC-GR-780.743.1-2), with illustrations by Toyokuni and text added by Sanba, and Yūshi kego (FSC-GR-780.738), the illustrations a collaborative effort with Utagawa Toyohiro and the text by Sakuragawa Jihinari. During this era Kitagawa Utamaro regained his standing as an artist of illustrated books with the release of the image-only Ehon shiki no hana (1801; FSC-GR-780.325.1-2)and the Seirō ehon nenjū gyōji  Fig. 16 (1804) with text by Jippensha Ikku. The Pulverer Collection includes both the color (FSC-GR-780.327.1-2) and monochrome (FSC-GR-780.319.1-2) printings of Seirō ehon nenjū gyōji. Judging from the detailed rendering of the lines, it could be conjectured that from the onset this work was equally designed to be appreciated in monochrome.

Color Woodblock-Printed Books Featuring Bunjinga, Rinpa, and Calligraphy

Beautifully executed color illustrated books from different artistic (painting) lineages were also produced during this period. Haikai sanjūrokkasen (Yosa Buson, 1799; FSC-GR-780.793) as well as the 1803 works Katsura kasane (Matsuya Nichōsai; FSC-GR-780.411) and Kishi enpu (Saitō Shūho; FSC-GR-780.549.1-3) are ingenious, tastefully illustrated haikai books that were issued through the regular financial support of haikai fans. Also released at this timewas Nishiki zuri onna sanjūrokkasen (ChōbunsaiEishi, 1801; FSC-GR-780.99.1-2),which gathered together calligraphic works by thirty-six female students associated with the Hanagata lineage of calligraphy to accompany images of the “Thirty-six Immortal Female Poets” (onna sanjūrokkasen 女三十六歌仙). The Kōrin gafu (Nakamura Hōchū, 1802; FSC-GR-780.436.1-2) attempts to recreate in printed form the use of the painting technique by Ogata Kōrin 尾形光琳 (1658–1716) called tarashikomi (たらし込み), or “dripping in,” in which a second layer of paint is applied before the first layer is dry. The album Shūchin gajō (1803; FSC-GR-780.113.1-2), redesigned by Ishikawa Tairō, assembled and scaled down original paintings by Kano Tanyū 狩野探幽 (1602–1674)and others; it also employed some color stenciling. The color washes in the album Shōkadō gajō (Shōkadō Shōjō, 1804; FSC-GR-780.542) were handled in such a way so as to give the impression of monochrome ink painting, and the backgrounds appear almost as if they are yūzen-style textiles.

Light Color Printing and the Ban on Color Printing

The shock (and the severity) of the Tokugawa shogunate’s ban on color printing was such that publishers continued the practice of self-censorship until 1817. During this period published works were produced in gray scales. Although the ban was strictly adhered to in Edo—the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate—private publications such as erotic books, books of the New Year, surimono, and illustrated calendars (egoyomi) managed to skirt the regulations. Moreover, there were some indications that the law was not always enforced in the Kyoto-Osaka (Kamigata) region. Examples include the album of kabuki actor “likenesses,” Masu kagami Fig. 17 (Shōkōsai Hanbē; 1806), and Bijin awase (1807; FSC-GR-780.856), an illustrated book by Watanabe Nangaku and other artists of Shijō lineage with accompanying poems.

The ban on color printing seems to have been gradually alleviated as evinced by the restricted use of light colors, which resulted in works with an overall softer palette. In the works in the Pulverer Collection the beginning of this trend is seen in Bokusen gafu (Maki Bokusen, 1809; FSC-GR-780.394.1-2), followed by Kaidō kyōka awase Fig. 18 (1811) with images by Watanabe Nangaku and Kawamura Bunpō and text by Ueda Akinari, and finally Koga yōran (Hasegawa Settan, 1812; FSC-GR-780.70). The latter reproduced the world of painting using gray tones, with occasional accents of color, and as such was similar in feel to the aforementioned Shōkadō gajō.

The first volume of Katsushika Hokusai’s Hokusai manga was released in 1814, and the continued publication of further volumes of this title seemed to have encouraged other publishers to issue books employing a more subdued palette. Representative works include Manga hyakujo (Aikawa Minwa, 1814; FSC-GR-780.33) and Fukuzensai gafu (Niwa Shaan, 1814; FSC-GR-780.467.1-6); Kengo hinrui zukō (Niwa Tōkei, 1815; FSC-GR-780.468); the 1816 Santai gafu (Hokusai; FSC-GR-780.238) and Kyōchū zan (Kameda Bōsai; FSC-GR-780.137); Fukei gasō (Chō Gesshō, 1817; FSC-GR-780.47/ FSC-GR-780.48); and Kōrin gashiki (Minwa, 1818; FSC-GR-780.34).These titles show various adaptations for printing with lighter colors. In the case of Hokusai manga Fig. 19 (1814–1878), for example, the compositions are simply conceived with the addition of gray and rose pink tones to the black sumi ink key block, or “main block” (omohan). This approach to printing color considerably reduced labor costs and production time.

Multicolored books also gained new life in the face of the easing of the ban on color printing, and perhaps a pioneering work in this regard was Hokusai shashin gafu Fig. 20 (1814). This title is missing a publisher’s mark. However, Taira no Yuzuru 平由豆流 (Kishimoto Yuzuru 岸本由豆流; 1788–1846) wrote the preface to Hokusai shashin gafu, and this suggests that he might have been the publisher. Kishimoto also wrote the preface to Kitao Masayoshi’s Sōka ryakuga shiki (1813; FSC-GR-780.341). Other works where the preface writers were the likely publishers are Shazanrō gahon (1816; FSC-GR-780.602) and Ōson gafu (1817; FSC-GR-780.516). Both albums were by influential artists, Tani Bunchō and Sakai Hōitsu, respectively, and include their art names (Shazanrō and Ōson) in the book titles. Although there are earlier examples of the use of the name Hokusai in the book title, the more frequent use of the artist’s name in the title at this time became more prevalent, perhaps functioning to market the books on offer.

As discussed above, these multicolored books published between 1813 and 1817 demonstrate a deliberate restricted use of color, yet these works were of a high aesthetic quality. It was perhaps not until 1817 that publishers again produced multicolored books with confidence as seen in works on the kabuki theater. Kabuki actor “likenesses” thus spurred the departure from the production of books in mostly gray scales such as  Yakusha nigao haya geiko Fig. 21 (1817) to a return to full color—that is, the energy generated by the popularity of kabuki was enough to overcome the problems surrounding legal prohibitions and production costs. This, in turn, infused renewed life into full-color illustrated books. The ban on color printing had now been effectively removed and color-printed books once more restored to their glory.


Selected readings:

Akama Ryō赤間亮, Zusetsu: Edo no engekisho: kabuki hen『図説江戸の演劇書歌舞伎篇』(Tokyo: Yagi Shoten, 2003). 

Asano Shūgō and Timothy Clark, The Passionate Art of Kitagawa Utamaro (Tokyo: Asahi Shinbun; London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1995).

Timothy T. Clark and Osamu Ueda with Donald Jenkins, The Actor’s Image: Print Makers of the Katsukawa School (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1994).

Julie Nelson Davis, Partners in Print: Artistic Collaboration and the Ukiyo-e Market (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015).

Fujisawa Murasaki藤澤紫, Suzuki Harunobu ehon zenshū『鈴木春信絵本全集』/ The Complete Works of Suzuki Harunobu’s Picture Books (Tokyo: Bensei Shuppan, 2003).

Jack Hillier, The Art of Hokusai in Book Illustration (London: Sotheby Parke Bernet and Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980).

Jack Hillier, The Art of the Japanese Book, 2 vols. (London: Sotheby’s Publications by Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd., 1987).

Ishikawa Ryō石川了, Edo kyōkadan shi no kenkyū『江戸狂歌壇史の研究』( Tokyo: Kyūko Shoin, 2011).

Roger S. Keyes, Ehon: The Artist and the Book in Japan (The New York Public Library in association with the University of Washington Press, 2006).

Kokusai Ukiyo-e Gakkai国際浮世絵学会, ed., Ukiyo-e daijiten『浮世絵大事典』(Tokyo: Tōkyōdō Shoten, 2008).

C. H. Mitchell, with the assistance of Osamu Ueda, The Illustrated Books of the Nanga, Maruyama, Shijo and Other Related Schools of Japan. A Biobibliography (Los Angeles: Dawson’s Book Shop, 1972).

Nakada Katsunosuke仲田勝之助, Ehon no kenkyū『絵本の研究』(Tokyo: Bijutsu Shuppansha, 1950).

Nakano Mitsutoshi中野三敏, ed., Edo no shuppan『江戸の出版』(Tokyo: Perikansha, 2005).

Nakano Mitsutoshi中野三敏and Kikutake Jun’ichi 菊竹淳一, eds.,Ehon gafu nenpyō「絵本画譜年表」, vol. 5 (1998), Aimi Kōu shū『相見香雨集』, Nihon shoshigaku taikei 45『日本書誌学大系45』(Musashimurayama-shi: Seishōdō, 1985–1998).

Narasaki Muneshige楢崎宗重, ed., Puruverā korekushon 「プルヴェラー・コレクション」, vol. 14 (1990), Hizō ukiyo-e taikan『秘蔵浮世絵大観』, 16 vols. (Tokyo: Kōdansha, 1987–1991).

Suzuki Jun鈴木淳, and Asano Shūgō浅野秀剛, eds., Edo no ehon gazō to tekisuto no ayanaseru sekai『江戸の絵本画像とテキストの綾なせる世界』/ Ehon in the Edo Period: A Splendid World of Interwoven Image and Text(Tokyo: Yagi Shoten, 2010).

Suzuki Jun, and Ellis Tinios, Understanding Japanese Woodblock-Printed Illustrated Books: A Short Introduction to Their History, Bibliography and Format (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2013).

Suzuki Jūzō鈴木重三, Ehon to ukiyo-e 『絵本と浮世絵』(Tokyo: Bijutsu Shuppansha, 1979).

Kenji Toda, Descriptive Catalogue of the Japanese and Chinese Illustrated Books in the Ryerson Library of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago: 1931; repr., Mansfield Centre, CT: Martino Publishing, 2004).
































Narasaki 1990, 12.


See Murasaki 2003.


See Ishikawa 2011.

Fig. 1

Minchō shiken 明朝紫硯 Artist: Ōoka Shunboku (1680–1763) Edo period, 1746 (Enkyō 3) Volume 1 of 3; kōkitoji binding; woodblock printed; stencil printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers 26.7 x 18.4 x 0.7 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.508.1-3

Fig. 2

Sō Shiseki gafu 宋紫石画譜 Artist: Sō Shiseki (1712–1786) Edo period, 1765 (Meiwa 2) Volume 1 of 3; fukurotoji binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers 27.1 x 16.7 x 0.6 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.546.1-3

Fig. 3

Umi no sachi 海幸 Artist: Katsuma Ryūsui (1711–1796) Edo period, 1762 (An’ei 7) Volume 1 of 2; fukurotoji binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers 30 x 21 x 0.9 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.169.1-2

Fig. 4

Ehon butai ōgi絵本舞台扇 Artists: Katsukawa Shunshō (1726–1792) and Ippitsusai Bunchō (active 1755–1790) Edo period, 1770 (Meiwa 7) Volume 2 of 3; fukurotoji binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers 28.5 x 19 x 0.9 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.163.1-3/1917 facsimile printing FSC-GR-780.165.1-3

Fig. 5

Ehon seirō bijin awase 絵本青楼美人合 Artist: Suzuki Harunobu (1724–1770) Edo period, 1770 (Meiwa 7) Volume 1 of 4; fukurotoji binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers 26.7 x 18.7 x 0.8 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.558.1-5

Fig. 6

Shokunin burui 職人部類 Artist: Tachibana Minkō (active 1751–1771) Edo period, undated 1 volume; fukurotoji binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers 28.2 x 19.2 x 0.7 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.566

Fig. 7

Seirō bijin awase sugata kagami 青楼美人合姿鏡 Artists: Katsukawa Shunshō (1726–1792) and Kitao Shigemasa (1739–1820) Edo period, 1776 (An’ei 5) Volume 1 of 3; fukurotoji binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers 7.9 x 18.6 x 0.7 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.167.1-3

Fig. 8

Sanjūrokkasen 三十六歌仙 Artist: Katsukawa Shunshō (1726–1792) Edo period, 1789 (Tenmei 9) 1 volume; fukurotoji binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers 29.6 x 20.6 x 2.3 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.162

Fig. 9

Shin bijin awase jihitsu kagami新美人合自筆鏡 Artist: Kitao Masanobu (1761–1816) Edo period, 1784 (Tenmei 4) 1 volume; gajōsō binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers 37.9 x 25.9 x 1.1 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.330

Fig. 10

Saishiki mitsu no asa彩色美津朝Artist: Torii Kiyonaga (1752–1815) Edo period, 1787 (Tenmei 7) 1 volume; gajōsō binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers 25.2 x 19.1 x 0.8 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.618

Fig. 11

Ehon mushi erami絵本虫えらみArtist: Kitagawa Utamaro (1753–1806) Edo period, 1788 (Tenmei 8) 1 volume; fukurotoji binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers 27.3 x 18.2 x 0.9 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.321.1-2

Fig. 12

Yomo no haru四方の巴流Artists: various Edo period, 1789 (Kansei 7) 1 volume; gajōsō binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers 22.2 x 16.1 x 1.5 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.849.1-2

Fig. 13

Ryakuga shiki略画式Artist: Kitao Masayoshi (1764–1824) Edo period, 1795 (Kansei 7) 1 volume; fukurotoji binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers 26.4 x 18.1 x 0.9 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.335

Fig. 14

Ehon Sumidagawa ryōgan ichiran 絵本隅田川両岸一覧 Artist: Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) Edo period, undated (circa 1805) Volume 2 of 3; fukurotoji binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers Freer Gallery of Art, 26.5 x 18.3 x 0.4 cm FSC-GR-780.230.1-3

Fig. 15

Yakusha sangaikyō俳優三階興Artist: Utagawa Toyokuni (1769–1825) Edo period, 1801 (Kansei 13) Volume 2 of 2; fukurotoji binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers 21.9 x 15.5 x 0.9 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.741.1-2

Fig. 16

Seirō ehon nenjū gyōji青楼絵本年中行事 Artist: Kitagawa Utamaro (1753 –1806) Edo period, 1804 (Kyōwa 4) Volume 2 of 2; fukurotoji binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers 22.7 x 15.9 x 1 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.327.1-2

Fig. 17

Masu kagami ■須可我美 Artist: Shōkōsai Hanbē (active 1795–1807) Edo period, 1806 (Bunka 3) 1 volume; fukurotoji binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers 20.3 x 14.7 x 0.5 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.798

Fig. 18

Koga yōran古画要覧 Artist: Hasegawa Settan (1778–1843) Edo period, 1812 (Bunka 9) 1 volume; gajōsō binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers 22.8 x 16.1 x 0.9 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.70

Fig. 19

Hokusai manga北斎漫画 Artist: Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) Edo–Meiji periods, 1814 (Bunka 11)–1878 (Meiji 11) Volume 1 of 14; fukurotoji binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper (vol. 12, ink on paper); paper covers 22.9 x 15.9 x 1 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.233.1-14

Fig. 20

Hokusai shashin gafu北斎写真画譜Artist: Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) Edo period, 1814 (Bunka 11) 1 volume; gajōsō binding; woodblock printed, embossing; ink and color on paper; paper covers 25.7 x 17 x 0.8 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.237

Fig. 21

Yakusha nigao haya geiko役者似顔早稽古Artist: Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769–1825) Edo period, 1817 (Bunka 14) 1 volume; fukurotoji binding; woodblock printed; ink and color on paper; paper covers 18.5 x 13.1 x 1 cm Freer Gallery of Art, FSC-GR-780.745