Guide to the UCSF Japanese Woodblock Print Collection

Valerie Wheat, Lisa Mix
UCSF Library & CKM
Archives and Special Collections
530 Parnassus Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94143-0840
Phone: (415) 476-8112
Fax: (415) 476-4653
Email: http://www.library.ucsf.edu/collections/archives/contact
URL: http://www.library.ucsf.edu/collections/archives
© 2006
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Guide to the UCSF Japanese Woodblock Print Collection

Collection number: Consult repository

UCSF Library & CKM

Archives and Special Collections

University of California, San Francisco
Processed by:
Valerie Wheat, Lisa Mix
Date Completed:
2004
Encoded by:
UCSC OAC Unit
© 2006 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: UCSF Japanese Woodblock Print collection
Dates: 1600-1900
Collection number: Consult repository
Collector: Minami, Atsumi
Collector: de C. Saunders, John B.
Collection Size: 400 items 366 online items
Repository: University of California, San Francisco. Library. Archives and Special Collections.
San Francisco, California 94143-0840
Abstract: A collection of Japanese woodblock prints on the subject of health and medicine. Included are Ukiyo-e prints depicting diseases, health practices, public health messages, and drug advertisements, as well as maps of Nagasaki and textual drug advertisements. The website for the UCSF Japanese Woodblock Print Collection  includes an introduction to the collection, as well as essays on prominent themes, and allows users to view the prints by theme and search the collection.
Physical location: East Asian Collection
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English, Japanese
Digitized images from this collection.

Access

Collection open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Library & Center for Knowledge Management. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Archives & Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Library & Center for Knowledge Management as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

UCSF Japanese Woodblock Print collection. Consult repository, Archives & Special Collections, UCSF Library & CKM.

Acquisition Information

The prints in the collection were purchased over a 30-year period. In 1963, UCSF Provost and University Librarian (later Chancellor) John B. de C. Saunders began the collection, which was developed over the next thirty years by Librarian/Curator Atsumi Minami. The prints were purchased from various collections in Japan: Asakuraya, Kuichi Seisho, Mori, Nakamura, and Nakayama.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection consists of 400 Japanese woodblock prints on various topics relating to health and medicine. Even within that collecting focus, the subject matter ranges widely. Most of the prints are examples of Ukiyo-e, a Japanese art form that flourished from the late 17th to mid-19th centuries.
The prints focus on health-related themes: diseases such as measles and cholera, traditional Asian medicine, aspects of obstetrics and women's health, herbal medicine, nutrition, drug advertisements, and images of prominent physicians.
The interplay of health and religion is a recurring theme throughout the collection. Buddhist and Shinto deities are shown conquering diseases such as measles and smallpox, and diseases are often personified as demons. Buddhist and Confucian philosophy underlies the imagery in the prints, especially in prints depicting pregnancy or childbirth.
A large portion of the collection consists of advertisements for drugs. Many of the advertisements are Ukiyo-e scenes depicting kabuki actors, courtesans, aristocrats, deities, demons, or animals. Approximately 60 of the drug advertisements are text-only.
The opening of Japan to the West is a major theme throughout the collection; several of the prints depict Dutch traders or physicians. There are several detailed maps showing the island near Nagasaki where European visitors were segregated. Several of the drug advertisements are for "new" Dutch remedies.
The website for the UCSF Japanese Woodblock Print Collection  includes an introduction to the collection, as well as essays on prominent themes, and allows users to view the prints by theme and search the collection.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Health attitudes Japan
Drugs Japan
Dutch in Japan
Buddhism Japan History Pictorial works
Measles History
Women's Health
Woodblock prints
Ukiyo-e
Advertisements
Maps
Japan
Nagasaki-shi (Japan)