An Analysis of Some Illustrated Books by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) in the Museum of Oriental Art in Venice
The collection of Japanese prints, albums and illustrated books (ehon) in the Museum of Oriental Art in Venice is the result of the last stop in Japan of a journey to the Far East of Prince Henry Bourbon-Parma, Count of Bardi and his wife Adelgunde of Bragança, during the years 1887-1889. The gathering of more than thirty thousand objects became the core of the present collection. Among these there are about 500 illustrated books of famous ukiyoe masters, surimono, and colour prints nishikie. The creation of catalogue entries in Japanese and Italian and the analysis of each print reveals an amazing quantity of unpublished ukiyoe masterpieces and allows a division into different groups according to the subject matter. At the same time, this distinction into different genres shows an interesting tendency in the formation of the collection together with a possible new classification of the prints themselves. This study aims to shed a new light on this particular collection while focusing on a series of illustrated books by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1848). Among these the famous volumes of the Manga, the illustrated books on warriors, an unusual album with some prints from the One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji and a selection from the five volumes dedicated to teach the artisans how to draw all kind of decorations.