Leiden

spooky light over Leiden
(moments before a brief but furious hailstorm)

Last weekend we made the short train trip from Amsterdam to Leiden to see the ‘Spoken en Geesten’ (‘Ghosts and Spirits’) exhibition currently on at SieboldHuis. The works on display have been drawn from the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art in Haifa, Israel.

I love the fluid linework, dense patterning and subtly vibrant colouring of 18th and 19th century Japanese woodblock prints and am always intrigued by how ‘modern’ they appear to be… so fresh, they could have been made yesterday! Here are a few striking details from some of the works on display (I took the photos at a slight angle to minimise reflections on the pictures’ glass – apologies for some resultant distortion).

from 'Ghosts and Spirits" exhibition @ SieboldHuis, Leiden

“The ghost of Asakura Tōgo”, Utagawa Kuniyoshi,
woodblock colour print, 1851

from 'Ghosts and Spirits" exhibition @ SieboldHuis, Leiden

“Ibaraki, the Female Demon”, Shibata Zeshin,
woodblock colour print, second half of 19th century

from 'Ghosts and Spirits" exhibition @ SieboldHuis, Leiden

“The Night Procession of One Hundred Demons”, attributed to Utagawa Kuniyoshi, colour and ink on paper, first half of 19th century (?)

from 'Ghosts and Spirits" exhibition @ SieboldHuis, Leiden

“The ghost of Asakura Tōgo”, Utagawa Kuniyoshi,
woodblock colour print, middle panel (?) of a triptych, 1851

from 'Ghosts and Spirits" exhibition @ SieboldHuis, Leiden

“The ghost of Asakura Tōgo”, Utagawa Kuniyoshi,
woodblock colour print, right panel (?) of a triptych, 1851

from 'Ghosts and Spirits" exhibition @ SieboldHuis, Leiden

“A Female Spirit on the Roof”, attributed to Utagawa Kuniyoshi,
colour and ink on paper, first half of 19th century (?)

from 'Ghosts and Spirits" exhibition @ SieboldHuis, Leiden

“Nissaka, The Rock That Weeps at Night”, from the series “53 Pairings Along the Tōkaidō Road”, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, woodblock colour print, c.1845

from 'Ghosts and Spirits" exhibition @ SieboldHuis, Leiden

“Fox Dressed as a Nun”, Katabori netsuke, ivory, 19th century (not a great photo unfortunately, but possibly one of the loveliest netsuke I’ve ever seen!)

SieboldHuis basement, Leiden

an encounter in the museum’s ‘haunted’ cellar

Of course we felt compelled to re-watch Hayao Miyazaki‘s brilliant film ‘Spirited Away‘ when we returned home that evening… and a wild and wonderful journey it was too!

The exhibition is on at SieboldHuis in Leiden until 17 February 2013 – well worth a visit.