Many artists during Japan’s Edo period designed ukiyo-e woodblock prints, but the works of Utagawa Hirokage stand out from many of these “pictures of the floating world” for their affinity for the absurd. A student of the famed Utagaway Hiroshige, Hirokage is perhaps most known for an incredible triptych of a battle between fruits, vegetables, and fish — but also for a successful series he published around 1860 titled Edo meisho doke zukushi, or Joyful Events in Famous Places in Edo. The 46 images set in present-day Tokyo are simply bizarre: scenes of a tiny octopus attacking people on a beach or of foxes carrying pumpkins are so ridiculous you can’t help but chuckle. Hirokage, in a sense, was churning out the memes of his time.
This famous English saying – often misattributed to William Shakespeare, but actually a partially paraphrased quotation from William Congreve – could apply to many tragic tales from all over the world through the centuries. Here we will introduce a famous Japanese story featuring one such jilted woman, associated with the ancient temple of Dōjō-ji 道成寺 in Kii province (modern Wakayama) in Japan.
Exhibition dates: 14 Jun 2016 to 30 Oct 2016
Gallery 29 | Admission Free
2016 is the Year of the Monkey according to the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. While the lunar calendar and its twelve zodiac animals are distinct to East Asia, images of monkeys feature in the mythology, folklore, art and literature of many cultures around the globe.
This exhibition, drawn from the Ashmolean’s collections of Asian art, celebrates the Year of the Monkey by showing images of monkeys from across Asia. It includes depictions of monkeys in their natural environment and highlights two of the mythical monkey figures best known outside Asia: the Monkey King of Chinese literature and the Hindu monkey warrior Hanuman.
Monkeys in the wild
There are many different species of ape and monkey native to the forests and mountains of Asia, ranging from baboons in the Arabian Peninsula to orangutans in the rainforests of Borneo, long-armed gibbons in China and India, and many varieties of macaque across the whole region. They are widely celebrated in poetry and literature and represented in art.
The highlight of most wedding ceremonies is two people making their vows to each other by promising to be true to each other ‘for better, for worse … till death us do part’. But what happens when they die? Where does all the eternal love sworn by innumerable couples go? We first explored the subject in East Asian ghoulish images & stories last year; this year we concentrate on one particular story to investigage the possibilities of love after death. – See more at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/asian-and-african/2015/10/till-death-us-do-part-or-not.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+asian-and-african+%28Asia+and+Africa%29#sthash.cifY0dJa.dpuf
Japan’s Meiji period (1868–1912) is commonly described as a time of quick economic and political modernization and self-conscious competition with Western military might and colonial aspirations. The Meiji Restoration of 1868 marked the end of the feudal rule, of an agriculturally dependent economy, and of Buddhism as the official state religion (replaced with Shintô, which holds the emperor to be divine). Under the reign of Emperor Mutsuhito, Japan adopted a constitution with an elected parliament, built military might, experienced massive transportation and industrial industry growth, and put in place a national education system. Pale Pink and Light Blue, a current exhibition at the Museum for Photography in Berlin’s Kunstbibliothek, captures one aspect of the period’s.