Ukiyo-e Woodblock Prints

This week, we chat about a field of printing which is both intriguing and baffling to me.  Intriguing because I find it beautiful (in it’s complex simplicity) and yet baffling due to the enormous number of woodblock prints and artists.

Crow on Cherry Tree
by Ohara Koson @ 1910

Woodblock parting in the Far East, has been around since the eighth century but was mostly restricted to the production of Buddhist texts and images.  There was not yet a large literate public to appreciate printed books and the production of woodblock texts was very expensive.

Movable type was not used for printing until 1590, at which point literacy and learning became integral to producing an educated and urban society.

Eastern woodblock printing uses water-based inks, whereas, western woodblock printing which regularly used oil-based inks.  This water-based ink provides a wide span of vivid colours, glazes and good transparency.

I acquired five prints recently, one by #OharaKoson, two by #OgataGekko, one by #HirafukuSuian, and one by #SeikoOkuhara all of which I will display so that you might enjoy an art form which we should learn more about so that we might appreciate it more.

by Ogata Gekko

Two Doves
by Ogata Gekko

Three Gulls in Flight
by Hirafuku Suian

Plovers on the Shore
by Seiko Okuhara @ 1910

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