Dover Book

Text Box with description of Book

As with many of Dover's Fine Art books, there is little information about the artist/author/editor. This one contains a one paragraph "Note" then dives right into the pictures. It begins "George Ashdown Audsley (1838-1925) had a passion for the arts. He was an architect, curator, lecturer, and art collector." Hmm, interesting. They did not mention that he was quite well- known as a pipe organ designer, and designed the Wanamaker organ in Philadelphia. That is a fairly big deal. I got that information from Wikipedia, which, also interestingly does not mention The Ornamental Arts of Japan. However, the birth and death dates are the same, so the likelihood of there being two George Ashdown Audsleys who lived and died in the same year is practically zero. Therefore I must conclude that they are one and the same. The bulk of his books are about pipe organ design.

As for this book, Dover has chosen sixty designs to print in this edition, and they are magnificent, but Japanese art in general is so excellent, so gorgeous. I did find the original book online, and at one site, it was selling for over $1,100. It is a rare book indeed! HOWEVER, leave it to to provide eBook copies of books one would never imagine would be available. Yep, this one is, the whole shebang, available only in PDF format, and it is a biggie—21.3 MB. Yes, of course I downloaded it and you can, too, right here. So if you are interested in Japanese art, you can see the entire collection, with pages of explanatory text. Remember, books from vary in quality, and the PDFs are just facsimiles of the original, but I glanced through quite a few pages on my desktop and it seemed good. And also remember that on a mobile device, a Kindle app. reads PDF files beautifully. You can download that app. for any device for free from Amazon.

The artworks cover eight categories and it was very difficult choosing what to post here, except in the Metal Work category, in which there was only one example. A very brief, but not always helpful and sometimes confusing description of the contents is also included. Therefore, I will post one picture from each category with the description as it appears in the book.

Painting: Page 8. Unknown legendary figures from an ori-han (folding book); fine silk ground and transparent colors.


Embroidery: Page 18. Fukusa embroidery of silk and gold on satin powdered with gold-dust; bird's eyes are glass; border is a silk and brocade diaper pattern. (Please note: my scanner picked up those yellow streaks which do not appear in the book.)

Textile Fabrics: Page 34. Brocade weaving; conventional coloring in floss silk.

Lacquer: Page 40. Black lacquer tabletop dusted with gold and decorated with flowers and foliage in gold and colored lacquer; flowers are mother-of-pearl or silver foil.

Textile Fabrics



Incrusted Work: Page 45. Lacquer on wood; enameled faïence and bronze.

Metal Work: Page 47. Jar of Gold; interior lined with copper and gold, and plated with silver. (Again, the yellow streaks were picked up by my scanner but do not appear in the original. The same with the blotches in the two below.)

Cloisonné Enamel: Page 51. Bottle of opaque and translucent enamel; fish-scale diaper; pattern is scrollwork and flowers.

Metal Work

Cloisonné Enamel

Incrusted Work

Carving: Page 51. Porcelain statuette of Usugumo; Kakiyemon.


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