Curator Talk with Gary Hickey
Melodrama in Meiji Japan
Talks / Lecture
Melodrama in Meiji Japan: The NLA Clough collection of woodblock printed frontispieces (kuchi-e)
Recent scholarship of the Japanese print has brought renewed interest in the woodblock-printed frontispieces (kuchi-e) produced for novels and literary magazines of the Meiji period (1868-1912). They are interesting not only in their role as illustrations in emerging genres of Japanese literary fiction, but also due to their artistic merit, with many printed to a high standard. They provide insight into the changing trends in Japanese woodblock-printed imagery and in the art world during the Meiji era.
Between 2001 and 2014, retired Sydney academic Professor Richard Clough donated over 500 kuchi-e to the Library. The collection dates from the late 1890s to the 1920s, and comprises works by over twenty-seven artists. This, together with the range and subjects of kuchi-e in the collection, offers a representative sampling of the entire woodblock-printed kuchi-e tradition.
This talk will introduce the Clough collection, alongside recent scholarship on kuchi-e profiled in the Library's exhibition Melodrama in Meiji Japan.
Gary Hickey is a curator and scholar of Japanese art. He sits on the directorial board of the Tokyo-based International Ukiyo-e Society.