September 30 - December 11, 2022
From Asia Society Texas:
“Asia Society Texas’ (AST) newest exhibition, Yōkai: Scenes of the Supernatural in Japanese Woodblock Prints, revels in the eerie and mystical realms found in Japanese myths and legends. Yōkai — meaning “mysterious apparitions” —take the form of demons, monsters, shape-shifting animals, and trickster spirits, and have been found in folklore, historical texts, paintings, and theatre for centuries. This exhibition, on loan from Scripps College, presents 80 works featuring Edo period woodblock prints and e-hon (picture books) spanning over 250 years. Yōkai: Scenes of the Supernatural opens on Friday, September 30th, and remains on view through December 11, 2022.
In the Edo period (1603-1868), the spread of woodblock printing fostered a highly literate population, spurring publishers to mass-produce woodblock prints and illustrated books depicting scenes of the modern world as well as popular literature and legends. By the 19th century, characters and scenes of the supernatural became hugely popular as books and prints made them accessible to a wide audience. Celebrated artists like Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) and Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) filled their designs with creepy — and sometimes comical — creatures, devilish demons, and grotesque ghosts. Many of their yōkai have inspired depictions in manga and anime today.
The collection of prints on view highlights the complicated and multistep process involved in woodblock printing. Once designed, the image is carved into a block of wood leaving only the outlines of the artist’s design in the block. Additional blocks are carved for each color in the design with registration marks added to ensure the colors align perfectly. Different colored ink is placed on the blocks and transferred to the paper, one after the other to create the brightly colored and intricate designs featured in the exhibition.
On view through December 11, 2022, Yōkai: Scenes of the Supernatural in Japanese Woodblock Prints presents a rare opportunity to see this vast collection and explore the mystical world of Japanese folklore and legend.”
Reception: September 30, 2022 | 6–8 pm
1370 Southmore Blvd.
Houston, 77004 TX