Quintana Heathman

Brocade Pictures and Best Sellers: Japanese Popular Print Culture of the Edo Period (1615-1868)

Monday September 28, 2020

Moderated by 2019-2020 Forum Fellow Joshua Frydman.

In Japan, a vibrant print culture developed during the Edo period (1615–1868). Centered in the city of Edo (modern day Tokyo), these popular works were mass produced via woodblock printing. Aimed at a commoner audience, they were inexpensive and thus accessible to a wide range of the population. Though single-sheet, colorful ukiyo-e prints are perhaps best known to audiences today, these works were just one part of a larger “print ecosystem.” Joined by printed books, maps, and calendars, and other materials, prints became part of the fabric of Edo life. This talk first introduces the popular prints of Edo, then delves into the inventive power of this medium as it follows the development of a fictional land in the Japanese imagination, created entirely through maps, books, and prints.

Quintana Heathman is an art historian focusing on early modern Japan. She received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, and her BA and MA in art history from Boston University. From 2009–2011 she was a Japanese government research fellow (MEXT) at Gakushūin University. Quintana has worked in Asian curatorial departments at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Harvard Art Museums. She is currently a curatorial assistant at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, UC Davis.

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