Ancient Japanese monster prints

curated by Paolo Linetti
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The exhibition “Yōkai. Ancient Prints of Japanese Monsters” presents about two hundred works from the 18th and 19th centuries, including prints, rare antique books, clothes, weapons, swords, masks, a samurai armor, as well as 77 precious netsuke, small ivory sculptures, from Bertocchi’s private collection, never before shown to the public.

The exhibition itinerary, divided into eleven sections, is designed as a journey into the Japanese imagination, and opens with an immersive room that makes the public relive the experience of the traditional samurai test of courage of the Hundred Candles Ritual.

Inspired by this evocative tradition, it was chosen to have visitors proceed through a route with a narrative layout that presents the various legends of Japanese tradition from time to time in the different exhibition halls in an enjoyable key for the visitor but rigidly scientific.

The choice was made not to make audio guides to be listened to through headphones but to create a “sound carpet” to accompany visitors through the narration of the ancient legends of Japanese tradition.

The voice of samurai Toru Watanabe (played by actor Alessandro Girami) leads visitors from the first room of the Hundred Candles to the last room of the Samurai’s Farewell with texts specially designed and written for the exhibition.

Another more than exceptional opportunity offered by the Yōkai exhibition is the chance to admire some of Hokusai’s famous manga notebooks and other of his masterpieces including

including the Book of Chinese and Japanese Fighters. 

The rare volume presents the protagonists of legendary stories and terrifying monsters with a dynamism, expertise of detail and harmonies that ranks the work among the excellence of the artist’s most qualitatively accurate and beautiful volumes.

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  • in Monza (Villa Reale Belvedere) – from April 30 to August 21, 2022
  • in Bologna (Palazzo Pallavicini) – from April 7 to July 23, 2023


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