The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) Collection of Ukiyo-e Prints and Japanese Old Books has been released
The Art Research Center (ARC), Ritsumeikan University, in collaboration with the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), is pleased to announce that 4,233 ukiyo-e prints and 74 Japanese old books from ROM's collection are now available in our database.
*Note: From the ARC Ukiyo-e Portal Database, you can search for this collection by entering 'Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)' in the 'collection'-field.
*Note: From the ARC Early Japanese Books Portal Database, you can search for this collection by entering 'Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)' in the 'owner'-field.
Located in Toronto, Canada, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) showcases art, culture, and nature from around the world. Canada's largest, most-visited museum, ROM has the most extensive collection of Japanese art in the country, a large part of which are ukiyo-e.
Digital archiving of ROM's collection of ukiyo-e prints began in March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the digitization of all the ukiyo-e prints and some of the early Japanese books.
Since then, the ARC has continued to add to the database to ensure all the works from the collection are available online for the public. Each item in the ARC database is linked to ROM's online collection. (Some links are yet to be adjusted.)
The collection includes ukiyo-e prints from a wide range of periods and genres, from monochrome early ukiyo-e prints of the Genroku period (1688 - 1704), to shin-hanga prints of the Taisho and Showa periods.
At its core is the collection of over 2,000 ukiyo-e prints of Sir Byron Edmund Walker--one of the founders and first chairman of ROM--that was bequested to the Museum in 1926.
Regarding main genres, the collection consists of 1,426 landscape prints (名所絵), 685 prints of beautiful women (美人画), 464 warrior prints (武者絵), 375 actor prints (役者絵), and 361 prints of scenes from stories (物語絵; including duplicates of actor prints). It is also particularly noteworthy that there are 219 war prints (戦争絵), 83 earthquake (地震絵) and catfish prints (鯰絵), 33 prints depicting foreigners, and 201 surimono.
Regarding ukiyo-e artists, the collection includes 750 prints by Hiroshige, 716 prints by Gekko, 300 prints by Hokusai, 125 prints by Toyokuni I, 100 prints by Kunisada, and 117 prints by Utamaro.
In 2009, a donation of 136 warrior prints from the late James King, a professor of English at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, enriched the collection of this genre. Moreover, Balfour Halévy, the former law librarian of York University, Toronto, donated his collection of over 600 works of Ogata Gekko to ROM in 2016. This rare collection is an essential source for research on Gekko.
We hope that access to this database from ROM's extensive collection provides a foundation for further ukiyo-e research and learning.
・James King and Yuriko Iwakiri: Japanese Warrior Prints, 1646-1904. Hotei, 2007.
・Sir Byron Edmund Walker | Royal Ontario Museum (rom.on.ca): https://www.rom.on.ca/en/about-us/rom/founders/sir-byron-edmund-walker