Japanese Woodblock Print Highlights

When most people think of Japanese wood-block prints, they think of Hokusai’s prints of Mt. Fuji and other landscape scenes created in the late Edo period. In fact, the earliest Japanese wood-block prints date to the 11th century. Gradually, the style progressed from prints using red, yellow, and green, to realistic, intricate multicolor prints. Ukiyoe is not a very old word. It occurs first in a book entitled Koshoku Ichidai Otoko by the celebrated author Saikaku Ihara , published in Genre pictures that by their nature might well have been called ukiyoe, had been in circulation before that date, and indeed such pictures may have been actually so called by the people, with the result that Saikaku employed the term in his novel as a current neoterism. And as such genre pictures became more and more popular, the term ukiyoe came more and more into general use. In those days the expression was applied to pictures depicting the ephemeral worldly pleasures of gay life, so that their themes were taken from the gay quarters, the theaters, and their neighborhood, which were the most popular places of public resort. All through the Edo period the themes were taken from these same sources.

Japanese Art: Everything You Might Not Know

Thank you for bidding in our auctions. We keep your purchases safe with us as long as necessary. Description Warrior lord Saito Taro Saemon wearing the official court attire. The large crests of his house name are on his trouser.

(new date) Japanese Woodblock Printing w/ Matt Brown. Date: April , ; Time: 9am-5pm; Price: $; Artist: Matt Brown; Website.

The art of ukiyo-e and general Japanese woodblock printing has brought forth many masters and masterpieces. Let’s take a look at the art itself, the process, and the images about everyday life in the Edo period itself. Ukiyo-e is a hallmark of wooden engraving from Japan and was particularly popular in the Edo period. Many printing blocks are used for multicolored printing, and it is also called nishiki-e a latter style of ukiyo-e with multi-colors.

Ukiyo means modern style or the fleeting life of the time, its popularity and ordinariness were admired by people. Printing blocks were often made from thick solid wood of cherry trees, the black color was produced from Japanese ink and the white color was produced from the shell of a clam. People’s daily lives, Bijin-ga portrayals of beautiful women , scenes and manners, landscapes , and customs were are all depicted in ukiyo-e.

How to Identify Japanese Prints

Bring it to Dr. Japanese woodblock prints are lovely works that go under many names. Made by well known masters like Hokusai and Hiroshige, Japanese woodblock prints are highly collected worldwide. During the Meiji period , Japanese woodblock prints became very popular and were widely reproduced. The most common subjects in Japanese woodblock printmaking are landscapes, beautiful women, scenes from the theatre, animals and flowers, and historic events.

Japanese woodblock print of a white lily flower.. Tokyo.: Uchida.. No date. Ca. s.. Color woodblock print, image approx. 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches on sheet 16​.

The subject of the Japanese Chinese zodiac would take many hundreds of pages accurately to describe. It is a complex system of Buddhist symbolism, planetary observation and Imperial obeisance. The Japanese Zodiac and calendar were introduced from China in the sixth century. The Imperial court invited the priest Kudara to teach them how to draw up a calendar and with it the associated astronomical detail. In traditional Japanese culture, astronomy, astrology and the calendar are inextricably joined.

This did not change significantly until , after the modernisation of Japan and the establishment of the Meiji government.

List of ukiyo-e terms

A widespread belief among scholars and connoisseurs of the Japanese color woodblock print nishiki – e holds that synthetic dyes were imported from the West in the s, and soon came to be used for all nishiki – e colorants during the Meiji period. This study calls this narrative into question through an analysis of the colorants of nishiki – e from until , using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy coupled with micro-Raman, XRF and fiber optic reflectance spectroscopies.

The results show that the introduction of synthetic dyes was gradual and selective, and that most of the customary colorants of the late Edo period continued in use. The results revealed a series of key turning points after 1 In , the purple dye rosaniline became the first synthetic dye to be used in nishiki – e , at first in combination with Prussian blue for a more bluish color.

Artist’s signature; Artist’s seal; Publisher’s seal; Censor’s seal; Date seal; Printer’s seal; Carver’s seal; Other inscriptions, such as poems, biographies, descriptive.

Woodblock prints often contain text, inscriptions and seals which give information about their subject matter and the date of publication. On this print the signature appears in a little frame called a cartouche and reads Ici’eisai Yoshitsuya ga. Before , the Japanese calendar was based on the Chinese one, with years calculated on a twelve year cycle, and named after animals. The publisher used a seal. The text at the top of the image gives the title of this image, and the series of prints from which it came.

You can explore the print further through this interactive image. How to Find Clues Within a Woodblock Print Woodblock prints often contain text, inscriptions and seals which give information about their subject matter and the date of publication. The Publisher’s Seal The publisher used a seal. The Title The text at the top of the image gives the title of this image, and the series of prints from which it came.

Censor – someone who decides whether to ban something. Grappling – fighting and trying to use your strength against someone.

old imprints ABAA/ILAB

Metrics details. This study explores the evolution of the manufacturing process of artificial arsenic sulfide pigments in Edo-period Japan through the analysis of three impressions of the same print dated from the s and attributed to Katsushika Hokusai — , and one from and attributed to Utagawa Kunisada — Colorants in the yellow and green areas of the four prints were investigated by means of non-invasive and microanalytical techniques such as optical microscopy, fiber optic reflectance spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy.

While the pigments in the green and yellow areas are similar throughout the set of prints—Prussian blue, indigo for the Hokusai prints and orpiment were identified—optical microscopy and Raman spectroscopy highlighted some variations in the orpiment used in the green areas of the prints. Two of the Hokusai prints present bright yellow particles of larger size and lamellar morphology, identified by Raman spectroscopy as natural orpiment.

Most of us have now and again seen and appreciated Japanese woodblock prints, especially those in the tradition of ukiyo-e, those “captivating.

Well, recently we’ve put two such “same image” prints together side-by-side to give collectors a better idea how they compare. Pictured just below then are two copies of Toshi’s print “Mt. Toshi Yoshida’s Print, “Mt. Fuji from Ohito, Morning” Newer print left, older print right Other than a slightly different “color palette” used by the two different printers, who probably did their individual works some 40 years apart, there is really very little discernable difference in the overall printing quality of these two prints.

Both prints exhibit skillful use of “bokashi” shading to achieve the delightful gradation of colors seen in the sky, to Mt Fuji, and in the foreground. In both cases, each print is seen to be crisply printed, with careful attention to details. OK, next let’s take a closer look at both of these print’s “signatures” as seen just below. In fact, these hand-carved and then ink-stamped “signatures” are usually so “life-like” in appearance that they can often fool unsuspecting collectors into incorrectly believing that they’ve purchased a true “life-time” print.

Here, to help collectors to “tell the difference,” we will offer a couple of useful suggestions to keep in mind when examining the “signature” seen on a Toshi Yoshida print. First, holding the print’s “signature” up against an angled light source, look carefully for the “shiny” appearance of a graphite pencil’s lead. If the signature is observed to be “shiny,” most certainly then it IS indeed a “pencil-signed” copy.

From Collaboration to Independent Creation: Japanese Woodblock Prints at the Fine Arts Gallery

Art is created by people. That’s why, in telling these stories, we pay close attention to their social and political implications. Through these 8 newly updated chapters you will learn, for instance, why nature has always been central to the Japanese way of life, and how the Edo era produced some of the most exquisite paintings of beautiful women. The Japanese contemporary art scene is buzzing with innovation and creativity.

Dating Tsuchiya Koitsu Prints and Artwork New! The good oil on how to date your Koitsu prints! (Under construction). Japanese Woodblock print Publisher.

In the first, lasting from until , a single round seal reading kiwame “approved” is found see sample illustration at right. In , the whole system was reformed, and replaced by individual censors called Nanushi. They marked prints with their individual round seals , bearing characters from their names. During the period from to , these seals are found singly see sample illustration at right. There are roughly a dozen of these seals; for a beginner to tell if a seal on a print is one of them, it is necessary to check a table of them.

With time, it becomes easy to tell if a single round seal is a nanushi seal, or some other kind. From to , the Nanushi marked prints in pairs ; these seals are usually directly next to each other, but on rare occasions they are separated. The fact that they are usually found next to one another makes them easy to recognize; in general, no other round seals come in pairs. An oval aratame seal is usually present during the period from to During the period , a zodiacal date seal is also present.


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If the latter is done, the seal may be crucial in order to date the print. Each seal is created by the artist and therefore may reflect several different aspects of his life.

Published by Tokyo. No date. Seller Rating:. About this Item: Tokyo. Four binding holes in right margin, small chip to left upper edge outside image ; very good condition. Exquisite image in subtle shades of black, white, and blue from an unidentified late s Japanese woodblock book. Seller Inventory More information about this seller Contact this seller 1.

Tight left margin; very good condition. Exquisite image in subtle shades of grey and pink from an unidentified late s Japanese woodblock book. More information about this seller Contact this seller 2. Published by The Studio. About this Item: The Studio.

Ukiyo-e and Woodblock Prints: Pictures of a Floating World

At that time, “the popularity of women and actors as subjects began to decline. That last group includes woodblock prints of styles and subject matter one certainly wouldn’t expect from classic ukiyo-e, though the works never go completely without connection to the tradition of previous masters. Some of these more recent practitioners, like Danish-German-Australian printmaker Tom Kristensen , have even gone so far as to not be Japanese. The surfboards may at first seem incongruous, but one imagines that Hiroshige and Hokusai, those two great appreciators of waves, might approve.

Woodblock printmaking, or moku-hanga (木版画,) has a history in Japan dating back to the seventeenth century. The technique of woodblock.

Print reproductions are decorative, but actual woodblock prints are even better, and many are affordable, even on a small budget. So what do you do now? Here are five practical tips. Owning woodblock prints allows you to see their beauty whenever you want. For under USD, you can buy an entry-level original or several fine 20th century re-prints. These sources also have guides to artist signatures and seals which changed over time. Other details such as publisher and year can often be deciphered by similar guides.

Chinese-style calligraphy with sharp angles like Western block letters usually denotes artist, title and series, while free-flowing script similar to cursive writing is usually poetry. There are five main genres of Japanese prints: landscapes, beautiful women bijin , actors and dramatic scenes, animals usually birds and flowers kacho , and history events, famous stories, wars, samurai. But a print may transcend genres, as when both a beautiful woman and a beautiful landscape are prominent, thus comparing the two mitate.

There also are specialized areas such as surimono exquisitely printed designs in small editions for special occasions , shunga erotic , and ehon illustrated books , a relatively neglected area. While most artists focused on one or two genres, they could work well in others.

Ukiyo-e Signature Sample Database

The Met Fifth Ave opens August The Met Cloisters opens September Your health is our top priority. Utagawa Kunisada Japanese. To represent artisans, one of the four classes warriors, farmers, artisans, and merchants of the Edo period, Kunisada replaced the men more typical of the theme with pretty women and illustrated the interior of a woodblock printer’s atelier.

The truly serious collectors of Japanese woodblock prints! 2. The relatives All major institutions which own woodblock print collections! If they are Publishers were now required to list their name, address and date of publication. All of this.

Here a remarkable expansion in the publication and dissemination of printed books coincided with a cultural renascence in scholarship, literature, arts, crafts, and architecture. Kyoto, the imperial capital since , had long flourished as a cultural center under the patronage of the imperial court, noble and warrior families, the Ashikaga shoguns — , and Buddhist monasteries. It was also home to professional artists, calligraphers, and craft specialists with unrivaled expertise and skills, developed and refined for generations.

A century of destructive warfare among powerful warlords abated following the decisive victory of Tokugawa Ieyasu — at the battle of Sekigahara in Although the Tokugawa shoguns established a new administrative center in Edo modern Tokyo , where a distinct urban culture emerged, Kyoto remained a center of learning and cultural traditions. The technology of printing on paper from carved woodblocks had been known in Japan since the eighth century, but hand-copying with brush and ink remained the dominant method for reproducing texts and images in handscroll and book formats until about , when Kyoto artists and publishers began to develop methods of printing aesthetically attractive books.

By , merchants in Kyoto had recognized the commercial potential of book publishing, and new enterprises developed efficient methods for producing and marketing books. In time, commercially printed books became the primary carriers of knowledge, culture, historical and contemporary literature, amusements, and practical information. Until the beginning of the seventeenth century, woodblock printing for texts and occasionally for talismanic images had been organized within Buddhist temples and monasteries, where the written language for religious and historical texts was Chinese.

Remembering a carver – Ito Susumu