Japanese Prints: Word/Poem/Picture

Pavilion for Japanese Art
September 13, 2007–February 19, 2008

Japanese writing, composed of Chinese ideographs and kanasyllabary, is pictographic in origin and as such combines seamlessly with pictorial imagery. In prints, paintings and decorative arts, the interweaving of poems or bits of famous poetry with associated pictures was continuous from at least the eleventh century forward. In Western art, words entered pictorial imagery in the early twentieth century with cubist collage, stimulating a new look at words, poems, and pictures in Japanese art. This exhibition shows some of the ways in which words and images have been blended in art since the eighteenth century, with a concentration on modern artists' and poets' interpretation of mixing single words, continuous prose, or poetry with images.

Curator: Hollis Goodall, Japanese Art. This exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Image: Kitagawa Utamaro, Picture Book of Selected Insects, Japan, 1788, set of two woodblock print books; brocade cover, each 10 5/8 x 7 1/4 x 1/4 in., Gift of Caroline and Jarred Morse.