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Explore the extraordinary influence of Japanese culture on the Western world in the 19th century, centred around Hokusai’s now-viral print, The Great Wave.

In the 1850s Japan opened up to international travellers, ending years of global isolation and bringing vibrant Japanese culture to the Western world for the first time. A fashion for everything Japanese quickly spread across Western Europe and Great Britain in the 1860s and 70s, paving the way for new perspectives and images across the world of art and design. Other art movements were quick to be inspired – Impressionism was profoundly influenced by the daring colour palettes and unusual perspectives of the ‘ukiyo-e’ prints and the Arts & Crafts movement took an enormous amount of inspiration from Japanese design.

The exhibition brings together unique ‘ukiyo-e’ prints, many of which are reunited for the first time. These will sit alongside restored Samurai armour (complete with sword), contemporary woodcuts, illustrated manuscripts and ceramics. A highlight in the exhibition is the focus on Worcester’s most famous artistic output, the lovely Royal Worcester Porcelain, which demonstrates how Japanese art had a huge influence on one of the oldest remaining English porcelain brands.

Sat proudly at the centre of the exhibition is Hokusai’s famous print, The Great Wave – alongside contemporary prints by Masami Teraoka created in 1933, the exhibition will illustrate the development of the ‘ukiyo-e’ style in the modern age.

This exhibition was supported by the Weston Loan programme with Art Fund.

19th century artImpressionismContemporary artPrints & drawingsCeramicsWest Midlands

Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum

Foregate Street, Worcester, Worcestershire, WR1 1DT

01905 25371


Opening times

Monday – Saturday, 10.30am – 4.30pm. Closed Sundays and Bank Holidays.

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