Japanese Prints for Beginners

Kansas City, Missouri. Glory Days! The book we have all been waiting for even if we didn’t know it. Above is Andreas Marks’ latest contribution to the field of ukiyo-e. In fact, there is nothing else like it which. It not only displays more than 2, publisher seals, but much, much more. It is expensive. So, who then should purchase it?


This reference guide documents examples of artist signatures on Japanese woodblock prints from approximately to The images are drawn chiefly from the digital resources of institutional collections. This site is made available as a courtesy to scholars and collectors, and is intended for non-commercial use only.

Phoenix and Beauties, Woodblock Print by Kitagawa Utamaro but it is also surprisingly hard to find up-to-date information on the internet.

Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery intern Echo Sun class of has put together a vibrant presentation of Japanese woodblock prints from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, now on view in Cohen Memorial Hall. This companion presentation includes editions by Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Hiroshige, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, Kiyoshi Saito, and Takahashi Hiroaki Shotei , among other Japanese artists working in the woodblock print medium over these two centuries. Originating in China, Japanese moku-hanga printers exclusively used carved woodblocks instead of metal plates or lithographic stones prevalent in western printmaking.

Although as the companion exhibition reveals, there is a long, deep history of the woodcut outside of Asia. Japanese printers used water-based inks, as opposed to the western oil-based ones. This approach enabled artists to create images with vibrant colors, delicate contours, and smooth color gradients. Ukiyo-e prints were produced in the Edo period as popular culture merchandise.

The production of ukiyo-e prints involved a team of artisans: A publisher would commission an artist to draw a design, which would then be transferred to multiple woodblocks by the carver. Normally, only the publisher and the artist would be credited for the prints, which would be produced in hundreds, if not thousands, of copies to be sold in markets. Although ukiyo-e prints were extremely popular in the Edo Period, Japanese art connoisseurs often viewed them as mere mass-productions, not fine art.

As the Tokugawa government opened the door to the west in the mid nineteenth century, Japanese artists started to favor Western art-making techniques over traditional ones, in some instances regarding woodblock printing as primitive in comparison. However Shin-hanga artists incorporated Western techniques such as linear and atmospheric perspective with traditional subjects such as landscapes.

The past lives in the present.

Japanese Woodblock Print Highlights

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.

How to Identify Japanese Prints. Koson Ohara Woodblock print by Koson Ohara Title: Kingfisher. Item # Artist.

Return to Allinson Gallery Index All works are guaranteed to be authentic as described. Works found not to be so will be taken back and the purchase price refunded at any time. Otherwise a sale is considered final after ten days. Measurements are in inches, height first. All prints are signed in pencil or ink unless indicated otherwise. Condition is excellent; defects are noted. Postage abroad is billed at cost.

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

AS the dating of prints is a matter of interest and importance to the collector and student, it will not be out of place to preface the subject by a few words on Japanese chronology. The longest Japanese unit of time is a cycle of sixty years, which is subdivided into shorter cycles of twelve years; to each year is assigned the name of an animal in regular sequence, similar to our twelve signs of the zodiac. In addition to these regular divisions, there are also various periods Nengo which date from some particular event, such as a great earthquake, an epidemic, or other visitation, and are purely arbitrary in length, a change being often made because of ill-luck.

To this is due their frequency previous to the Meiji enlightened period, which dates from down to the death of the late Emperor in , the present period, Taisho , commencing in The Meiji period, therefore, was a comparatively long one, and in marked contrast to the Manyen and Ganji periods, which only lasted one year each, for and ; or the Kiowa period of two years,

Ukiyo-e is a genre of Japanese art which flourished from the 17th through 19th centuries. Its artists produced woodblock prints and paintings of such subjects as female Aside from Dutch traders, who had had trading relations dating to the.

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. Enter the digital archive here , and note that if you click on an image, and then click on it again, you can view it in a larger format. We’re hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads.

Japanese Woodcuts

For both collectors and dealers of woodblock prints, precise dating and the knowledge about the various editions of a print is essential to determine the value of a given print. In the following article, the basic facts as far as available, are summarized for the prints of Shiro Kasamatsu. Since this content is neither perfect nor yet complete, the author appreciates any additions, corrections and new “discoveries.

As for dating, Kasamatsu’s prints clearly follow the rules of the Watanabe publishing house.

This is a list of terms frequently encountered in the description of ukiyo-e (浮世絵) style Japanese woodblock prints and paintings Edo jidai); dating from to , when Japanese society was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate.

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.

How to Identify Japanese Prints

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.

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

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Read more about our cookie policy Accept and close the cookie policy. Museum number ,,0. Description Colour woodblock print, with mica background. Woman in blue bathrobe combing her long hair. Signed, dated and sealed. Production date March Production place Made in: Japan. Materials paper. Technique woodblock colour. Dimensions Height:

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

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 Woodblock Prints of Utagawa Hiroshige The longest Japanese unit of time is a cycle of sixty years, which is subdivided into In the date-seal on a print the month is denoted by a number, the year itself by one of the zodiacal signs.

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.

Ukiyo-e Signature Sample Database

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.

The Lyon Collection consists of over prints ranging in date from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century, with the majority dating to the nineteenth.

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.

In the initial phase, from to , a circular aratame seal was used along with a separate oval zodiacal date seal; again, these seals are usually directly next to each other, but occasionally they are separated. See sample illustrations at right. In , the aratame seal was dropped, and the oval date seal appears alone. In one early arrangement, the year sign was at the top, and the month numeral at the bottom enclosed the aratame character.

List of ukiyo-e terms

Japanese Woodblock print Publisher Catalog Database. Do you need to know the official titles of your Bakufu Ohno or Kiyoshi Saito prints? The following catalog database under construction will contain a large selection of catalogs by the major shin-hanga and modern woodblock print publishers and distributors. Doi-published Koitsu Print Cross-reference. Having spent considerable time over several years compiling this extensive database of Tsuchiya Koitsu prints published by the Doi publishing house, Tosh Doi has now graciously made it available on Koitsu.

Woodblock prints often contain text, inscriptions and seals which give information about their subject matter and the date of publication. The Artist’s Signature.

Welcome to the first dedicated Japanese woodblock print site in Australia , established in by Peter and Wivine Winch. We sell antique, rare, limited edition and contemporary genuine Japanese woodblock prints. Please contact us via email for shipping costs and payment details. Japanese woodblock prints are created by hand carving a number of flat blocks of wood which each display a portion of the total scene to be depicted.

It is usual for there to be six carved woodblocks for the creation of a single colour print. Woodblock artists paint the entire picture then break it down into pieces which utilise up to a maximum of three colours for each woodblock to be carved. The hand made paper used for these prints is called Washi and made from tree bark usually taken from mulberry trees which makes it strong and capable of being soaked in water then dried.

The set of woodblocks are capable of printing a maximum of prints and the process involves soaking the Washi, painting the coloured ink pigments onto an individual carved woodblock, laying the wet Washi onto the block and rubbing the exposed back of the paper with a rounded wooden object called a Barron until the colour has been absorbed into the washi. Once completed this partial print is dried, usually taking about a week then the process is repeated for the next woodblock until all six woodblocks have been printed and the entire picture can be seen.

Another commonly used term for Japanese woodblock prints is Ukiyo-e.

Remembering a carver – Ito Susumu