Today’s Hours:

All Hours & Directions

Terrell Main Library

8am - 5:30pm

Circulation Desk

8am - 5:30pm

Research Help Desk

3:30pm - 4:30pm

Research Help Chat

2:30pm - 4:30pm

Libraries Administrative Office

8:30am - 5pm

Azariah's Cafe

9am - 2pm (just drinks)

CIT Help Desk

8am - 4:30pm

Writing Center Daytime

Writing Center Evening

Speaking Center

Directions:

Location:

Mary Church Terrell Main Library
148 W College St. Oberlin, OH 44074-1545

Parking:

The main visitor lot is the east Service Building lot, and the south row of the Carnegie Building lot for visitors to offices within that building.

Terrell Main Library Floor Plans

Floor Plans

Other Libraries Hours & Directions

Learn More
Search icon

Historical Context

The Tokugawa Shogunate imposed a strict social hierarchy on Japan during the Edo (1603-1867) period. This well-defined system of social status meant that merchants, members of the wealthiest class, were excluded from serving in government positions.

Combined with a period of peace and prosperity, this exclusion from the expensive task of governing left the merchant class with an excess of capital. The merchants used their disposable income to patronize the arts: printers, artists, actors of the Kabuki theatres, as well as courtesans, were paid for their services.

The merchant lifestyle, with its celebration of pleasure, beauty, and sensuality, became known as Ukiyo or "the floating world." Pictures of the floating world, or Ukiyo-e, were often included in travel books, works on popular Kabuki actors, artist copy-books, books of Kimono and Ikebana (flower arranging) patterns, and picture books.

In 1868, Japan underwent major political and social upheaval. After the abdication of the last Tokugawa Shogun and the restoration of the Meiji Emperor, the West was finally allowed access to a nation that had sealed its borders to outside influences for many years. Western traders brought back to Europe scores of wood-block prints and Japanese artists' books, and many western artists and intellectuals visited Japan.

These works created a surge of interest in Japanese aesthetics in Europe and America, inspiring many artists, particularly the Impressionists, to mimic their bold lines and dramatic use of form.