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Gifts from the Ebb Tide
In Japan, collecting beautiful shells and decorating them with poems is an elegant pastime dating from ancient times. Shiohi no tsuto (Gifts from the ebb tide, popularly known in English as The Shell Book), is an illustrated book of multicolored woodblock prints by Kitagawa Utamaro (circa 1753–1806). Such ehon (picture books) are part of a long tradition featuring the fine collaborative work of artists, calligraphers, writers, papermakers, block cutters, and printers. This one, published in about 1789 by Tsutaya Jūzaburō, has 36 kyōka (humorous and satirical Japanese poems of ...
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