From Flowers To Warriors: Japanese Woodblock Prints

Check out our latest exhibit!

Stop by the St. Paul Library’s exhibit space to see the new show, From Flowers to Warriors: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the St. Catherine University Archives and Special Collections.

This exhibition builds on the concurrent show Nostalgic Femininity in the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery to explore a broader range of topics in nineteenth-century printmaking, from delicate studies of flowers to intense scenes of battle, drawing on items from the University Archives and Special Collections. The show features various prints by Meiji-period artists Utagawa Yoshitora and Tsukioka Yoshitoshi alongside select examples from other artists including Showa-period shin-hanga artists Aoyama Masaharu, Asada Benji, and Ōno Bakufu.

This exhibit was curated by Christina M. Spiker, Ph.D., with students MaryJane Eischen and Nicole Wallin. Christina M. Spiker is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at St. Catherine University. She received her Ph.D. in Visual Studies from the University of California, Irvine with a specialization in modern Japanese art and visual culture. Her dissertation explored turn-of-the-twentieth century representations of the indigenous Ainu in Japan, and her research continues to investigate how their specific histories intersect with theories of globalization, modernity, and travel from the late nineteenth century until today. Since coming to St. Catherine University, Christina’s work has more consciously engaged with representations of gender in Japan. She published “‘Civilized’ Men and ‘Superstitious’ Women: Visualizing the Hokkaido Ainu in Isabella Bird’s Unbeaten Tracks, 1880” in Gender, Continuity, and the Shaping of Modernity in the Arts of East Asia, 16th-20th Centuries, edited by Lara Blanchard and Kristen Chiem (Brill, 2017).

To learn more about the prints in both the Library and Catherine G. Murphy exhibits, check out the accompanying digital book. Created by MaryJane Eischen using the digital platform Scalar, Japanese Prints @ St. Kate's includes essays by Christina Spiker and Nicole Wallin, biographic information on the artists, and allows detailed exploration of the digitized prints.

Woodblock prints featured in the banner image are Hollyhock (立葵), c. 1950, by Aoyama Masaharu (青山正治) and The Great Battle at Yashima (1185) (讃州屋嶋源平大合戦之図), left panel of triptych, c. 1847-52, by Utagawa Yoshitora (歌川芳虎).