Ukiyo-e Search provides an incredible resource: the ability to run a reverse image search for Japanese woodblock prints and the ability to see similar prints across multiple collections at once. Over 220,000 prints and metadata have been aggregated from a variety of museums, universities, libraries, auction houses and dealers from around the world. The image and text search engine allows multiple copies of the same print to automatically line up with each other and are made viewable in a gallery for easy comparison. The entire website is also available in both English and Japanese. Ukiyo-e.org was created by John Resig, a computer programmer and avid enthusiast of Japanese woodblock prints who recently become a Visiting Researcher at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. This powerful tool is used frequently by UChicago faculty and aided the cataloging of several albums in the Smart Museum’s collection.
Directly influenced by Asian shadow and puppet theater, utsushi-e was a uniquely Japanese magic lantern show using multiple, hand-held lanterns. Bearing some surprising similarities to the European phantasmagoria show, ustushi-e was a screen practice based on back-projection. Tokyo-based performance troupe Minwa-za has revived this 200-year-old multi-media spectacle, which they present in an evening encompassing history, techniques and a special performance of projections, live narration and traditional shamisen accompaniment.
Update: Tickets are now sold out. Event will take place at the Film Studies Center.
We recently updated the VRC’s Other Art Resources Online page with links to several Japanese image resources online. These include a link to the Tokyo National Museum‘s website, with a version in English organized by type, region, and what is currently on display at the museum.
Questions, or suggestions of other websites to add to the list? Please contact the VRC.