Leo Qian

Ukiyo-e: The Intersection of Art and Fashion

Class of: 2024

Major: Fashion Design BFA

Medium: Research Paper

Faculty: Sharyn Finnegan

Prompt: Go to one of the exhibits at the museums online listed below (Metropolitan Museum, Frick Museum, Rubin Museum) and pick one or two pieces (your choice) to be the subject of a minimum of full 6 pages of text. The paper must include a visual analysis of the work under discussion, relevant cultural and historical information, and a discussion of the style. You can expand the discussion through as many related works as you like, but one (or two works) must be discussed in depth, if appropriate compared.

The woodblock prints and paintings of Hishikawa Moronobu are celebrated for pioneering Ukiyo-e, a defining genre of Japanese art popularized during the Edo period (1615-1868). An alternative facet of his artistic practice less familiar, are his kimono designs rooted from a family background of traditional craft in textiles. From the Metropolitan Museum’s exhibition, Japan: A History of Style, a woodblock printed book of pattern designs titled “Contemporary Kimono Patterns” brings insight to Moronobu’s artistry in fashion. Dated 1677, the illustrated book in ink on paper is sized 10 11/16   7 1/2 inches. Stemming from two designs of this collection, the intersection of art and fashion is explored through the intrinsic link between woodblock prints and textiles in documenting culture and lifestyle manifested in Ukiyo-e.

Image: Hishikawa Moronobu, “Contemporary Kimono Patterns,” n.p. 1677, Japan. Location: Metropolitan Museum, NYC.

Paper excerpt: