The Art of Literacy in Early Modern Japan
March 25, 2023 - August 6, 2023
Reading and writing were popular pastimes in early modern Japan. From the 1600s to the 1800s, the printing industry developed rapidly, making printed materials available to readers in urban and rural areas alike. Woodblock printing meant that books and prints could be mass produced, sold cheaply, and distributed widely. Readership grew steadily as temple schools taught basic reading and writing to people from the merchant and lower classes. This exhibition considers two forms of literacy, textual and visual, that enabled people to participate in a burgeoning public life.
Ogawa Haritsu, Frogs in Writing Contest, c. 1738, ink and color on paper, gift of the Clark Center For Japanese Art & Culture 2013.29.102