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Nature in the Floating World: Images of Nature in Japanese and Chinese Art

January 26, 2023 — May 10, 2023

Among the treasures found in the Ulrich collection are dozens of remarkable Japanese woodcut prints. They include pieces by such internationally influential 19th century masters of ukiyo-e as Andō Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai, as well as a variety of works by participants in the 20th century shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga movements to revive and revitalize woodcut printing.

This exhibition presents approximately forty works drawn from the Ulrich holdings, as well as from the Mark Arts Study Collection and a local private lender. All the works focus on images of nature—an important and widely interpreted theme in Japanese woodcuts. Ukiyo-e means “pictures of the floating world.” While some of the most famous works in this tradition showed the worldly pleasures of Japan’s expanding urban scene, images of nature—birds, flowers, landscapes, the seasons—were also vital to it. As the writer Asai Ryōi wrote in the 17th century, emphasizing the ephemeral beauty of the natural world, "living only for the moment, savouring the moon, the snow, the cherry blossoms, and the maple leaves…this is what we call ukiyo."

The works presented here, as well as two large-scale works by contemporary Chinese artists Huang Yan and Liu Guosong, capture great inventiveness and beauty in approaches to depicting the natural world and reveal its deep interconnectedness with human life.

This exhibition and associated programs are generously supported by Shoko Kato Sevart in loving memory of her mother, Taka Kato; Pam Bjork; and Trish Higgins. The Ulrich is grateful for the ongoing support of Ulrich Friends with Benefits members who make the Museum’s exhibitions and programs possible through their memberships. We also receive funding for general operational support from the City of Wichita and Wichita State University.

Cover image: Yoshida Hiroshi, printed by H. Komatsu, Goshikigahara, 1926 (printed 1971). Woodcut on Japanese paper. Gift of Phyllis A. and Richard H. King, Jr.

Monday-Saturday 11am-5pm 
Closed Sundays, University & Major Holidays | Free Admission | 316.978.3664
1845 Fairmount; Wichita, KS 67260-0046