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Ukiyo-e: Japanese Prints of the Floating World

March 3 to April 17, 1994

Marsh Art Gallery


This ukiyo-e exhibition reveals the tantalizing range of images in Japanese prints of the floating world. A seventeenth-century Japanese writer described that world as: "singing songs, drinking wine, and diverting ourselves just in floating, floating ... like a gourd with the river current." Reflecting a sense of the world as an ephemeral place of no lasting value, the floating world was an escape from the present into fantasy and pleasure. Hopefully, our exhibition will entice you to pursue your own escape into that floating world.

Organized by the Marsh Art Gallery, the exhibition was co-curated by Robert G. Sawers, Director, Robert G. Sawers Gallery, London, and Stephen Addiss, Tucker-Boatwright Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Art History, University of Richmond. The exhibition was developed as part of an art history course on Japanese prints; Dr. Addiss' students researched and collectively wrote this brochure essay and individually wrote the exhibition's descriptive labels. The students were: Christopher Brown, Benjamin Chadwick, Inga Clough. Amy Dukes, Kristina Furse, Karen Gover, Wynn Housel, Laurie Linder, Edward O'Brien, Pamela Purdy, Elizabeth Rowe, Kirsten Schutt, Myres Tilghman, Eric Townsend, and Jennifer Wilkins.

We extend special thanks to the co-curators and the students involved in this project. Thanks also go to Mr. Sawers for lending the prints for our exhibition. The exhibition was made possible with the generous support of the University of Richmond Cultural Affairs Committee.

Richard Waller

Director, Marsh Art Gallery, University of Richmond

Publication Date



University of Richmond Museums


Richmond, VA


ukiyo-e, Japanese art, Japanese prints, floating world, Hitoshige, Hokusai, Kokei, Ko-u, Toyoshige, Yoshiyuki, Yoshitoshi, Marsh Art Gallery


Art and Design | Fine Arts | Printmaking

Ukiyo-e: Japanese Prints of the Floating World