ARCHAEOLOGY THROUGH ART: JAPANESE VERNACULAR CRAFT IN LATE EDO-PERIOD WOODBLOCK PRINTS.
(Under the direction of Dr. David Stewart) Department of History, 2010
This thesis examines depictions of wooden boats in Japanese woodblock prints of the late Edo period (1603 - 1867). Watercraft were an integral part of Edo Japan, yet little Western scholarship has examined their role. The images are an important resource for understanding more about maritime Japan, filling in some of the gaps left in the documentary and archaeological records. This thesis will compare details of construction and usage visible in the prints with contemporary models, documents, and modern boats built using traditional construction methods in an effort to assess the accuracy of the artistic renditions and learn about the context in which the boats were used. Though woodblock prints cannot provide the accuracy of measured construction drawings, careful study and comparison of the different types of vessels in the prints reveal much about the great range of watercraft in daily use during the Edo period.