The Insect Book


Ehon mushi-erami (The insect book) is by the ukiyo-e painter Kitagawa Utamaro (circa 1753−1806). It was created by him before he produced the bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women) for which he is famous. Each double page of the book contains a painted illustration of a plant and two species of insects, along with two kyōka (a poem style originating from waka, literally, Japanese poems). The kyōka are ostensibly insect-themed love poems. In all, 15 colored wood-block prints are included. The work demonstrates Utamaro’s skill at drawing, as well as the high-quality printing techniques of the day. The book was published by Tsutaya Juzaburō (1750−97), a press mogul in the late Edo period (1600−1868).

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Publication Information

Tsutaya Jûzaburô, Edo


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Physical Description

1 book ; 27 x 18.1 centimeters

Last updated: February 12, 2016