Duck Duck Book

16 – japanese kite prints
04.6.2005, 12:02 am
Filed under: art & entertainment

Japanese kite prints : selections from the Skinner collection / John Stevenson.
Seattle : Drachen Foundation, c2004.
[MCL call number: 769.952 S847j 2004; two copies, no holds]

As far as I'm concerned, one of the greatest services that public libraries provide is that they buy beautifully illustrated coffee-table books on odd subjects. I am not willing to fill my small house with large, heavy books full of glossy pictures — but that doesn't mean I don't want to leaf through them lazily as if I had no useful occupation available to me! Japanese Kite Prints is one of these books — I am very glad to borrow so that I may revel in its lovely illustrations for a while, and then I and also very glad to return it to the library so I don't have to find space for it in my bookshelves.

The artworks in Japanese Kite Prints are collected together because they are all on the subject of kites. Because of this, many focus on people and their doings. The prints are only slightly reduced from their original size (a particularly lovely crowd scene in plate no. 75 is reduced from 37.5 x 25.1 cm to 26.5 x 18 cm), and many of the plates fold out to allow more space for the illustrations. Each plate is accompanied by a page of descriptive text, with notes about the scene being depicted, the artist, and the technique of the print.

The plates and text are followed by two indices, one detailing the anatomy of a woodblock print, and another discussing how to date Japanese prints. There is also a bibliography and a brief index.


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