Glossary

Edo period (1603-1868)

Genji Monogatari (Tale of Genji), the world’s oldest long novel written in the early 11th century by Murasaki Shikibu. The novel centres around life at the Heian court and in particular recounts the amorous adventures of its main character prince Genji.

Heian period (794-1185).

Heisei period (1989-present day).

Inrō, lacquer stacked medicine container, worn hanging from the sash

Kansai, area in central Japan which roughly includes the cities Kobe, Osaka and Kyoto

Meiji period (1868-1912).

Mingei, folk art.

Nanban, lit. ‘southern barbarian’, referring to the Portuguese (and Spanish) in Japan in the 16th to early 17th century.

Netsuke, toggle used to anchor small objects such as medicine boxes (inrō) or pipecase from the sash or waistband.

Nihonga, Japanese-style painting, term which originated around mid-19th century and was used to distinguish painting with Japanese pigments and formats such as hanging scrolls from western-style painting done in oil and water color.

Rinpa, lit. ‘Rin school’, style within Japanese art, named after Ogata Korin (1658-1716) and known for its decorative images of natural motifs.

Shin hanga, lit. ‘new print’, print movement of the first half of the 20th century which followed the traditional Ukiyo-e model of print production, i.e. the collaboration of publisher, designer, block carver and printer. Subjects were mostly landscapes, bird-and-flower-images, beautiful women depicting ‘traditional’ Japan with its temples and kimono clad women.

Shōwa period (1926-1989).

Shunga, lit. ‘spring image’, term for erotic prints and paintings.

Sōsaku hanga, lit. ‘creative print’, print movement in the 20th century which emphasized the individuality and creativity of the artist and preferred to have all production stages of printmaking to be done by the artist himself, although  artists collaborated with professional carvers and printers too.

Surimono, lit. ‘printed matter’,  de-luxe printed woodblock print combining text and image.

Taishō period (1912-1926).

Tōkaidō, highway between Edo and Kyoto.

Ukiyo-e, lit. ‘image of the floating world’, term used to describe Japanese woodblock prints from the Edo period.

Yōga, Western-style painting, term used to distinguish oil painting and water colors from Japanese-style painting (Nihonga).