Ehon--or "picture books"--are part of an incomparable 1,350-year-old Japanese tradition. Created by artists and craftsmen, most ehon also feature essays, poems, or other texts written in beautiful, distinctive calligraphy. They are by nature collaborations: visual artists, calligraphers, writers, and designers join forces with papermakers, binders, block cutters, and printers. The books they create are strikingly beautiful, highly charged microcosms of deep feeling, sharp intensity, and extraordinary intelligence. In this elegant, richly illustrated volume, renowned scholar Roger S. Keyes traces the history and evolution of these remarkable books through seventy key works, including many great rarities and unique masterpieces, from the Spencer Collection of The New York Public Library, whose holdings include one of the foremost collections of Japanese illustrated books in the West.
In addition to its 250 color illustrations, Ehon includes an essay on the materials and structure of the Japanese book, an inventory of the approximately 1,500 printed Japanese books in the Spencer Collection, and full bibliographic information on the seventy featured works.