The Floating World

A Japanese woodblock print d depicting various people on a landscape and under a large tree with a view of Mount Fuji in the backgroun

The Floating World: Masterpieces of Edo Japan
from the Worcester Art Museum

February 11, 2024
June 30, 2024

About the Exhibition

Enjoy more than 150 woodblock prints and painted scrolls from one of history’s most vibrant artistic eras. 

After centuries of conflict and war, Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868) was a time of peace, stability, and economic growth. Members of the ruling class patronized artists, merchants, entertainers, and courtesans in major cities like Tokyo (then called Edo), Kyoto, and Osaka. Sharing a visual culture and appreciation for the transient pleasures of life, such diverse groups comingled in a metropolitan melting pot known as ukiyo, or “floating world.” There, a new art genre emerged: Ukiyo-e. These “pictures of the floating world” depict the lifestyle, pleasures, and interests of the urban population— from samurais, geishas, and kabuki actors to boat parties, palaces, and lush landscapes.

Not to be missed, this presentation marks the first time the Worcester Art Museum is touring its famed collection of Japanese artworks. 

This exhibition is organized by the Worcester Art Museum with support from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. 


Feature Image Credit

Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849), Fuji at Gotenyama, from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, 1830–32, color woodblock print, Worcester Art Museum, John Chandler Bancroft Collection, 1901.760

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