Woodblock-printed illustrated books became key sources of knowledge and entertainment in Japan during the Edo period (1615–1868). Working with renowned artists and authors, enterprising publishers produced compact, inexpensive paperbound volumes that were sold and circulated throughout Japan. With beautiful, intriguing, and entertaining subjects, books brought reading of words and images to the masses, creating a communication revolution similar to electronic media today. Highlights from the Gerhard Pulverer Collection now in the Freer Gallery of Art, including rare private editions and bestsellers such as Hokusai’s Manga sketchbooks, are shown together for the first time since the museum purchased the collection in 2007.
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