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Spaces of the Floating World: An Ukiyo-e Exhibit

The Asian Center regularly holds exhibits, and most of the time I pass over taking a look. I’ve belatedly realised that those times were the perfect chances to immerse myself in “higher culture”, but alas. Papers and reports take precedence over immersion in any sort of art and culture. But this time around I made time! Because the artworks was something I was familiar with, and wanted to see more of. 😀

Entitled “Spaces of the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Landscapes of 19th Century Japan”, reproductions of manga’s early incarnations are on view daily until March 31 🙂

If you aren’t familiar with ukiyo-e, here is a brief definition by the exhibit’s introduction:

Ukiyo-e literally means ”pictures of the floating world” in Japanese. They refer to colored woodblock prints that flourished during the Edo Period between the 17th and 19th centuries

If you are interested in manga, ukiyo-e will definitely come up in your study of its history. Most ukiyo-e contain pictures, and a short caption describing the scene depicted in the picture, which is a precursor to today’s modern manga with panels and texts in balloons.

Great Wave of Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai
Great Wave of Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai

This ukiyo-e is probably the most famous and well-known among those on display here. I had a small fangirl moment since Katsushika Hokusai was in one of my reports for this semester, and it was nice to connect more ukiyo-e works to his name, haha.


This one is my favorite! Many of the ukiyo-e had light, neutral colors to them, and so the ones that stood out for me were the ones with dark colors. This one also had a different feel to it. While it keeps to the usual theme of East/Northeast Asian art, the focus on the bird (Is it a falcon?) is what caught my attention.

Drop by the Asian Center to see these artworks! 😀 It’s a small exhibit – all 35 artworks can be seen in one hall, so you can take it all in in one afternoon (or 15 minutes, whichever suits your schedule) hehe 😀


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