21 June 2017 by Eleanor Webster
Last month the eagerly anticipated Edo Pop exhibition launched at Lady Lever Art Gallery, bringing to life the energy and spirit of 19th century Edo (now Tokyo) through a collection of 50 woodblock prints. Loaned from local collector Frank Milner, the vibrant and colourful prints were ‘mass produced’ by hand by leading printmakers such as Kuniyoshi, Kunisada and Kunichika, and were very sought after by fans of Edo’s popular culture.
In line with this fascinating exhibition, National Museums Liverpool have launched a stunning collection of Edo Pop merchandise, allowing visitors to buy beautiful Japanese gifts, homeware products and books, with every purchase supporting the work of our museums and galleries. Available online and from the Lady Lever Art Gallery shop, many of the items were made in Japan, their artistry reflecting a time when traditional Japanese culture began to feel influence from the modernising Western world.
Japanese Prints book
To understand the cultural significance of the Edo Pop prints, it’s worth reading Japanese Prints. This book draws on recent scholarship that makes possible a more subtle appreciation of the imagery encountered in the prints and how they would have been read when first made. Through stunning new photography of both well-known and rarely published works in the collection of the British Museum, author Ellis Tinios explores how and why such prints were made, providing a fascinating introduction to a much-loved but little-understood art form.
Also a must for those eager to learn more about this captivating period in history is our printed reproductions of Japanese posters. This print is of the poster All Female Kabuki Fan Club (1871) by Utagawa Kunichika. In this print, the actor Danjuro IX is watched by a female group of fans holding theatre programmes and chatting. Displayed in your home, this piece would certainly be a talking point amongst family and friends.
There are a number of beautiful homeware products in the Edo Pop range and one of our favourites is the Kenkou ‘Good Health’ teacup, detailing ten guidelines on how to live a healthy lifestyle in Japanese script. The teacup is a pale, mottled grey with a brown rim and in traditional Japanese style, with no handle. If you fancy picking up other cups from our collection, take a look at the Seikaiha Japanese mug or the Sakana Japanese teacup. Another bestseller is this gorgeous crackleglaze bowl, perfect for home dining. The vibrant, turquoise, crackleglaze on the inside with natural beige outside makes this piece truly unique.
Looking for a gift? Our Kokeshi dolls feature intricate designs which have been carefully painted to capture the essence of Japanese culture. The Mount Fuji doll is particularly stunning, showing a a beautiful Japanese landscape with the famous Mount Fuji in the background, along with a sprig of cherry blossom and Horyu-Ji, a renowned five-storey pagoda dating from the 7th century.
Perfect for keeping you cool during the warm summer months, we have a range of beautiful traditional Japanese fans in our Edo Pop collection. We love this Cherry Blossom design with its floral pattern against a dark blue background. This, along with our Great Wave fan, is made of silk and bamboo, and may even make unique ornamental pieces when placed on this bamboo fan stand.
As well as our fantastic range of Edo Pop-inspired address books and notepads, we also have a collection of notecard sets, like these Hokusai designs. This set of 20 has four landscape prints from three different collections of work and the cards are blank inside for your individual message Shop our Beauties and Hiroshige cards too.
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