Starting with the black-and-white prints of the earliest Ukiyo-e
masters, the show ranges thematically from classic images of Japanese geishas and courtesans (such as ’s Courtesan Hisui from Ogiya
, 1798), to Kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers who were the celebrities of the day. Meanwhile, dreamlike landscapes, like ’s Plum Garden at Kamaeido (1857),
and Katsushika Hokusai’s Inume Pass in Kai Province (1830)
, or his iconic The Great Wave of Kanagawa
, ca. 1829–1833, immortalized in art history textbooks and as an emoji, were more dependent on the artist’s imagination than strict observations of nature. Series of flora, fauna (often birds), and even travel themes were also commonly represented.