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Japanese Woodblock Prints At U.Va. Art Museum Provide A Glimpse Into Japanese Culture And History

November 7, 2003 --

WHAT: “The Moon Has No Home”: Japanese Color Woodblock Prints from the Collection of the University of Virginia Art Museum”

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 22 – Sunday, March 7

WHERE: University of Virginia Art Museum 155 Rugby Road

Japanese color woodblock prints, often known as Ukiyo-e or pictures of the floating world, are among the most collected and appreciated genres of Japanese art in both Japan and the United States. The University of Virginia Art Museum possesses a striking collection of these prints dating from the 19th century. About 60 of the 300 prints in the museum’s collection will be featured in an exhibition, “The Moon Has No Home,” which opens on Saturday, Nov. 22, and runs through Sunday, March 7.

Ukiyo-e artists of the late 18th and 19th centuries created work that was intensely imaginative and innovative, responding to rapid changes in Japanese society, which eventually ended with the fall of the repressive Tokugawa regime. They daringly broadened the range of traditional subject matter without ever abandoning the beauty and poetry that was inherent in Ukiyo-e. The artists looked back to the feudalistic period while incorporating modern sensibilities. Traditionally dismissed as decadent, the printmakers featured in the museum’s collection and exhibition are now being re-evaluated and acclaimed for their skill and innovation.

The exhibition is co-curated by Sandy Kita, assistant professor of Japanese art history at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Stephen Margulies, the museum’s curator of works on paper. Essays by the curators are featured in an illustrated catalog that accompanies the show.

The title of the exhibition, “The Moon Has No Home,” comes from a poem inscribed on a print by the artist Yoshitoshi, who is considered the final and culminating master of Ukiyo-e. From his landmark “One Hundred Aspects of the Moon” series, the print depicts the poet and nun Chiyo, who is best known for a poem in which she tells of her decision to borrow a bucket of water from a neighbor, her own having been ensnared overnight by morning glories, whose summer beauty she wishes to leave intact. In Yoshitoshi’s print, however, she is shown in autumn, transfixed over her fallen bucket. The inscribed poem is a kind of counter-poem and states that the poet has now dropped her bucket and spilled its contents, so that “the moon has no home in the water.”

Kita will give a talk in the museum on Sunday, Nov. 23, at 2:30 p.m.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum will hold a symposium, “Japanese Color Woodblock Prints,” on Feb. 6-7.

The exhibition was made possible with support from the C. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the Ellen Bayard Weedon Foundation, the Blakemore Foundation, the Arts Enhancement Fund of the Provost’s Office, the Rare Books School at U.Va., and private contributors, including Virginia and Raj Paul, Kendon Stubbs and Balfour Halevy.

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from, 1 to 5 p.m.

For details about the exhibition or lecture, call the U.Va. Art Museum at (434) 924-3592 or visit the Web site:

Images available for use by the media are available at If you have difficulty downloading the image contact Jane Ford, (434) 924-4298,

Contact: Jane Ford, (434) 924-4298

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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Last Modified: Friday, 07-Nov-2003 12:36:57 EST
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