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XXL books are a minimum 39 cm (15.4 in.)

Japanese Woodblock Prints

200Edition: Multilingual (English, French, German)Availability: In Stock
The Japanese woodblock print is without Western equivalent: Breathtaking landscapes exist alongside blush-inducing erotica, ghosts and demons torment the living, and sumo wrestlers and kabuki actors are rock stars. Presenting the finest impressions from museums and collections worldwide, this edition unveils 200 exceptional prints from 1680–1938.
Hardcover, with ribbon bookmark, 29.0 x 39.5 cm (11.4 x 15.6 in), 5.80 kg (12.78 lb), 622 pages with 17 fold-outs

“A dreamlike stroll through the most beautiful landscapes of this fantasized Japan.”

“A quarter-millennium’s worth of prints reveal the evolving tastes of Japanese artists over the ages, and the impact of this art form on global culture.”
The New York Times
“Another blockbuster from TASCHEN… gives star billing to the big three of Hokusai, Hiroshige and Utamaro, but also has plenty of room within its more than 600 pages for less celebrated but invariably fascinating figures.”
Evening Standard
“With incredible ingenuity and tongue-in-cheek wit, these images — portraying sensuality, freedom and effervescence — make up a unique genre in art history.”
“A rare and insightful glance at privately-owned art pieces that rarely make it out into the public realm, and also a chance to relish in the history of Japanese woodblock printing.”
“I envy the Japanese for the enormous clarity that pervades their work... they draw a figure with a few well-chosen lines as if it were as effortless as buttoning up one’s waistcoat.”
Vincent van Gogh
XXL books are a minimum 39 cm (15.4 in.)
Japanese Woodblock Prints

Japanese Woodblock Prints


Woodblock Wonders

A visual history of 200 Japanese masterpieces

From Edouard Manet’s portrait of naturalist writer Émile Zola sitting among his Japanese art finds to Van Gogh’s meticulous copies of the Hiroshige prints he devotedly collected, 19th-century pioneers of European modernism made no secret of their love of Japanese art. In all its sensuality, freedom, and effervescence, the woodblock print is single-handedly credited with the wave of japonaiserie that first enthralled France and, later, all of Europe—but often remains misunderstood as an “exotic” artifact that helped inspire Western creativity.

The fact is that the Japanese woodblock print is a phenomenon of which there exists no Western equivalent. Some of the most disruptive ideas in modern art—including, as Karl Marx put it, that “all that is solid melts into air”—were invented in Japan in the 1700s and expressed like never before in the designs of such masters as Hokusai, Utamaro, and Hiroshige in the early 19th century.

This book lifts the veil on a much-loved but little-understood art form by presenting the 200 most exceptional Japanese woodblock prints in their historical context. Ranging from the 17th-century development of decadent ukiyo-e, or “pictures of the floating world,” to the decline and later resurgence of prints in the early 20th century, the images collected in this edition make up an unmatched record not only of a unique genre in art history, but also of the shifting mores and cultural development of Japan.

From mystical mountains to snowy passes, samurai swordsmen to sex workers in shop windows, each piece is explored as a work of art in its own right, revealing the stories and people behind the motifs. We discover the four pillars of the woodblock print—beauties, actors, landscapes, and bird-and-flower compositions—alongside depictions of sumo wrestlers, kabuki actors, or enticing courtesans—rock stars who populated the “floating world” and whose fan bases fueled the frenzied production of woodblock prints. We delve into the horrifying and the obscure in prints where demons, ghosts, man-eaters, and otherworldly creatures torment the living—stunning images that continue to influence Japanese manga, film, and video games to this day. We witness how, in their incredible breadth, from everyday scenes to erotica, the martial to the mythological, these works are united by the technical mastery and infallible eye of their creators and how, with tremendous ingenuity and tongue-in-cheek wit, publishers and artists alike fought to circumvent government censorship.

Three years in the making, this XXL edition presents reproductions of the finest extant impressions from the vaults of museums and private collections across the globe—many newly photographed especially for this project. Some 17 stunning fold-outs invite us to study even the subtlest details, while extensive descriptions guide us through this frantic period in Japanese art history.

  • The work of 89 artists, from the world-renowned to the unfamiliar
  • 7 chapters organized chronologically to trace the history of the medium from 1680 to 1938
  • 17 fold-outs, hand-folded due to their size and specifications
  • Exclusive reproductions from museums and private collections
  • An appendix listing all artists and works
The author

Andreas Marks studied East Asian art history at the University of Bonn and obtained his PhD in Japanology from Leiden University with a thesis on 19th-century actor prints. From 2008 to 2013 he was director and chief curator of the Clark Center for Japanese Art in Hanford, California, and since 2013 has been the Mary Griggs Burke Curator of Japanese and Korean Art and director of the Clark Center for Japanese Art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Japanese Woodblock Prints
Hardcover, with ribbon bookmark, 29.0 x 39.5 cm (11.4 x 15.6 in), 5.80 kg (12.78 lb), 622 pages with 17 fold-outs

ISBN 978-3-8365-6336-9

Edition: Multilingual (English, French, German)
Download product images here


March 16 - July 21, 2024

Made in Japan. Farbholzschnitte von Hiroshige, Kunisada und Hokusai

Kunstmuseum, Basel, Switzerland



52 Ratings

Wonderful and exquisite

Christopher H.,August 16, 2023
I’m almost speechless. The quality of this publication is incredible. So wonderful to have so many details about the pieces and the artists in three different languages and the large images are truly amazing.


Zoltan,November 12, 2021
This beautiful book is of exquisite quality. Informative text accompanies large images.

Bigger than you think

Yasen,November 6, 2021
You might be aware of the sheer size of this volume, but no matter... when it arrives at your doorsteps you will gawk and awe at the incredible behemoth that this book is. Opening a new page is an amazing experience. You will be able to look at tiny details and spend hours staring at this piece of art.

A Monumental Book

Sonya,November 4, 2021
Andreas Marks' "Japanese Woodblock Prints" is a brilliant survey of its subject. Short essays contextualize the seven parts of the books, and blurbs accompany each featured print. Noteworthy is the range of artists included: Hokusai and Goyo, yes, but also Okumura Masanobu and Toyohara Chikanobu. The book is monumental in its scope as well as its dimensions: this is one of Taschen's XXL editions and the title is well earned. The book is 2.5 inches thick and over a foot long. A wonder to own.

Prepare to be amazed

Kevin C.,November 1, 2021
This book is a must for any collector of Japanese woodblock prints. The book is beautifully made, with high quality images and fold outs. The book has amazing content, which will get you lost in it for hours.