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Exhibition of Japanese woodblock prints from the collection of the National Museum in Krakow
"Leading the way is Hokusai, decrepit but wondrously young, full of fire and ardour…” – was how Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) was introduced by the eminent Polish collector Feliks Jasieński (1861–1929), a connoisseur and avid promoter of Japanese art.
Visitors to our vast monographic exhibition of Hokusai’s woodblock prints from the collection of the National Museum in Krakow will also be guided by the words of Jasieński, who donated most of the works on display to the Museum in 1920.
The show takes us on a tour of Japanese landscapes of the Edo period (1603–1868) on high-quality woodblock prints that show the Tōkaidō, the most important trade route, and the travellers. We face the majesty of sacred Mount Fuji, represented in the famous series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji and find a place for rest by the side of an exceptional series of waterfalls. On entering the dark world of ghosts (One Hundred Ghost Tales), legends and parables, we will explore interpretations of classical Japanese poetry (One Hundred Poems Explained by a Nurse).
The objects on view include Hokusai’s pattern books for artists and craftsmen, Jasieński's great fascination and an inspiration for his nickname Manggha. Their unprecedented approach to decoration made these albums popular to this day. Modern manga comics draw, among other things, on ‘sketches flowing freely down from the brush’ (Jap. manga).
We will also ramble to the sumptuous world of surimono prints made for special occassions, the technical and artistic qualities of which give them a unique value.
The exhibition is supplemented with works from the gift of Dr. Jens Wiebel, who presented the National Museum in Krakow in 2018 with a collection of woodblock prints bought by an ancestor of his in Japan in the early 20th century.