Children's Picture Books: The Transmission of Images
Children's Picture Books: The Transmission of Images

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about this exhibit
The first book produced using movable type was Gutenberg's 42-line Bible printed in 1455. It would not be until several hundred years after the invention of the printing press that picture books for children established a place in the world of reading, but already by 1474, a finely illustrated edition of Aesop's Life and Fables had been published in Milan.

In the early days of print culture, the concept of books for children had yet to emerge, and most of the illustrated books published were Bibles and books for education or moral training. Toward the middle of the seventeenth century, the small-sized "chapbooks" for popular readers appeared in England, and it was around this time that a man named John Newberry (1713-67) founded a children's book publishing company in London. In the meantime, since long before the spread of printing technology, the hornbooks for learning the alphabet had been selling as tools for building literacy. Before the advent of the age of picture books for children in nineteenth-century Europe, therefore, quite a few illustrated books intended to educate and inform were widely available.

The accumulated technical and artistic skills of engravers working with both woodblock and copperplate refined their levels of expression, and their efforts quietly brought into being countless works of outstanding quality. It was inevitable that this ferment of talent should blossom in the late nineteenth century with the heyday of color woodblock prints. The picture books in "Children's Picture Books: The Transmission of Images" appeared in the early stages of book publishing, prior to the rapid succession of advances in printing technology that began in the latter half of the nineteenth century. These books are physical testimony to how culture has been transmitted to children from one generation to the next. The development of machine technology led to many changes in the structure of society, changes which set in motion forces that superceded printing, ushering in the age of information technology. However, the world as we know it today was built upon the history of books going back five centuries.

Planning, Composition and Material Resource: Tayo Shima
Bibliography: Kimiko Kano
Annotation: Kimiko Abe / Kimiko Kano
Translation: Lynne Riggs / Manabu Takechi
Photography: Yasuro Horikiri

Calligraphy: Koga Hirano
Design and Authoring: Akiyo Ikeda
Direction: Hiroaki Kitamura
Supervision: Tayo Shima
Production: International Library of Children's Literature

Reproduction prohibited without permission


The International Library of Children's Literature