Imagine a world of flamboyant kabuki actors, unnerving ghosts, and graceful geisha clad in the finest and most delicate kimonos of the day. Imagine elaborate tea ceremonies and evenings filled with music, theatre and fashion. Such was the world of Edo (Tokyo) in the 17th to 19th centuries, depicted in 82 masterworks of ukiyo-e ("pictures of the floating world") paintings on display in this extraordinary exhibition. Uncover the unique style and splendour of an art that celebrates one of the most alluring periods in Japanese history.
Ukiyo-e paintings developed in Edo as the city grew and prospered into Japan's major political and commercial centre. Masters of ukiyo-e painting explored the daily activities of the city's inhabitants and, in particular, detailed the stylish preoccupations of the world of the theatre, and the world of brothels. Drama and Desire examines the iconography and themes that ukiyo-e paintings explored and looks at the development of the genre from the 17th through to the 19th centuries.