December 1, 2002
59 illus., 8 in color
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.4 Pounds (US)
$60.00 USD
v2.1 Reference

The Prints of Isoda Koryusai

Floating World Culture and Its Consumers in Eighteenth-Century Japan

The ukiyo-e artist Isoda Koryusai produced thousands of designs between 1769 and 1781, a crucial period in the evolution of the print tradition, and was honored with the imperial title of hokkyo, yet he has been long neglected by scholars. Allen Hockley has identified more than 2,500 designs of wide-ranging formats and themes, demonstrating that Koryusai broadened the treatment of traditional print subjects and appealed to a wider and more varied audience. Koryusai’s sheer output suggests he may very well be the most productive artist of the eighteenth century.

Refuting outmoded paradigms of connoisseurship and challenging the assumptions of conventional print scholarship, Allen Hockley elevates this important figure from the status of a minor Edo-period artist. He argues that Koryusai excelled by the most significant measure--he was a highly successful creator of popular commodities. Employing an "active audience" model, Hockley reshapes the study of ukiyo-e as a scholarly discipline by assessing Koryusai’s significance from the perspective of consumer culture.

While scholars will be intrigued by Hockley’s groundbreaking arguments, general readers will be fascinated by Koryusai’s richly varied career. Five appendixes catalog all of the artist’s known print designs, forming a record of Koryusai’s works that will serve as a lasting reference text for collectors, dealers, and curators.

About the Author

Allen Hockley is professor of art history at Dartmouth College.


"Allen Hockley's long-awaited monograph on Isoda Korysai (1835-90) is a welcome addition to the literature on Japan's eighteenth-century print culture."—CAA Reviews

"Much more than an attempt to construct a place in the canon for a neglected artist. Thinking outside the box, Hockley shows how old paradigms have blinded us to other kinds of information that can be teased from print culture. Hockley admits that he has raised more questions than he can answer. In doing so, he has stimulated readers' intellect, offered a new model for scholarship, and given us a window on a world heretofore unchartered. What more could one ask?"—Journal of Asian Studies

"Splendid . . . . This impressive and stimulating book has forever altered how we look at ukiyo-e."—Andon 75

"Allen Hockley is not a timid scholar. What he sets out in this book, using Isoda Koryusai (1735-1790) as a case study, is nothing less than a new methodology for the study of ukiyo-e..Used with skill and nuance, his new interpretive paradigm offers possibilities for thinking in ways that productively complicate and elucidate the recovery of meaning in Japanese prints, both past and present."—Artibus Asiae


"Koryusai’s career spans one of ukiyo—e’s truly formative periods, and the book’s combination of fresh method, common sense, solid research, and thoughtful analysis produces a long—overdue alternative to the inherited wisdom about that period."—Quitman E. Phillips, University of Wisconsin
University of Washington Press

9780295983011 : the-prints-of-isoda-koryusai-hockley
$60.00 USD

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