November 20 2013

“Seeing the art physically, and being able to closely examine it, is a wonderful way of teaching. It is how students really learn things, and how works of art resonate and create an emotional response. We are very fortunate to be able to use The Wolfsonian’s collection as a resource,” says Lidu Yi, assistant professor of Chinese art history in FIU’s Department of Art and Art History. Yi has integrated museum materials into her course Arts of China and Japan, which she is teaching this semester to thirty-one undergraduate and graduate students. By introducing students to The Wolfsonian, Yi hopes to encourage them to incorporate collection research into their final projects.

“I want students to learn about the museum and make good use of it. This course is only the beginning. I plan to continue to encourage students to learn about collection through my future classes,” she says. When she began her research of the collection several months ago, “it literally opened another world to me. There are such rich resources at The Wolfsonian for scholars and students to use. I didn’t realize the collection had so many materials on Japanese woodblock prints and on politics and war from Japan, which are wonderful for comparative study. The illustrated books are also incredible,” she says. “When people think about Japanese and Chinese art, they probably would not imagine that The Wolfsonian has the resources that it does.”

As part of her course, Yi’s students visited the museum and viewed examples of woodblock prints and illustrated books. Among the materials they saw were prints from the series One Hundred Pictures of Great Tokyo in the Shōwa Era by Koizumi Kishio (1883–1945). Produced between 1928 and 1940, these woodblock prints document Tokyo during this period. “Kishio was like a recorder, able to capture so many aspects of life at that time—the streets, the sights, the art deco architecture, the social life, the temples. The Wolfsonian has the portfolio of the entire series, which is extremely valuable. It’s Kishio’s masterpiece,” Yi says.

Yi’s research of the collection was supported by an Infusion Grant from The Wolfsonian, which funds the integration of museum collection materials into classroom teaching. She is one of five FIU professors awarded similar grants for the 2012–13 academic year; the awards are funded through a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Go here [1], to The Wolfsonian’s Digital Image Catalog, to view additional woodblock prints by Koizumi Kishio. 

Captions:

Top:

Print, Pagoda of Tennōji Temple at Yanaka, 1936
From One Hundred Pictures of Great Tokyo in the Shōwa Era, 1928–1937
Koizumi Kishio (Japanese, 1893–1945)
Color woodblock print
15 1/2 x 11 7/8 in (39.4 x 30.2 cm)
The Wolfsonian–FIU, The Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection, TD1993.69.1.22

Bottom (click to enlarge):

Print, Asakusa Tori-no-Ichi Festival (Otori Shrine), 1940 (revised)
From One Hundred Pictures of Great Tokyo in the Shōwa Era, 1928–1937
Koizumi Kishio (Japanese, 1893–1945)
Color woodblock print
15 5/8 x 11 7/8 in
The Wolfsonian–FIU, The Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection, TD1993.69.1.68

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