you were to look back to the earliest Ukiyo-e woodblock
prints, you would see that only Sumi ink was used, which was
particular ink was created by mixing soot with water.
Because of the ink, the woodblock prints were called
Sumizuri-e. However, from 1704 to 1715 during the Kanei and Shotoku
periods, mineral pigment was used to create two to three
colors, which was then called Tan-e.
Over the next 15 years during the Kyoho period,
vegetable pigment was used.
This ink was created from using Beni, which is a type
of safflower, giving the prints a slight look of
prints using vegetable pigment soon changed to Beni-e, which
resulted in prints that were brushed by hand but simply
Over the years, we have seen a number of woodblock
artists, some well known, and others not so well known.
For instance, Kiyohiro Torii is probably one of the
least known coming out of Torii school of printmakers.
This school was founded in 1664 by Kiyonobu, becoming
one of the more famous of schools producing outstanding
Kiyohiro is the artist’s actual name but because of
coming out of the Torii school, thus the name, Kiyohiro
Torii. Born in
1750, this artist was known for many of his works during the
18th and 19th centuries such as the
actor, Yamashita Kinsaku, a gorgeous color woodcut.
Kiyohiro used a number of names in addition to Torii
to include Shichinosuke.
Most believed Kiyohiro to be a genius with his
instance, a colored woodblock using Beni-Zuri-e ink, he
created Sanokawa Ichimatsu.
Completed during the Edo period, this image sheet
measures 10 7/8 x 6 7/8 inches.
While finding Kiyohiro Torii’s work is somewhat
challenging, the pieces you can find are very detailed and
know that Kiyohiro Torii was an active artist from 1737 to