printed in Japan using old world techniques
Japanese Woodblock Print is an art form, which highlights flowing, curved
outlines, simplistic forms as well as the detailing of flat areas containing
color. This form of art has not
only existed for a long time in Asian history, but it has also deeply impacted
artists in both Europe and North America throughout the 19th century.
Woodblock printing was first
used in Japan in the 8th century to print religious texts. Buddhists traveling
from China brought these texts, as well as the printing method itself, to Japan.
These first prints were made in
a single color using only Sumi ink. The world would have to wait nearly 900
years for the first colored prints to appear. Early color prints were made using
a single block and black ink. The colors were hand painted by workers in the print shops. It was only when the
popularity of these prints exceeded the production capacity of the workshops
that the true woodblock print evolved.
To meet the rising demand, the
printers employed master carvers to make individual blocks for each of the
colors in the print. Many of the finer woodblock prints contained 15 or more
colors, requiring 15 different expertly carved wooden print blocks. Each of
these blocks had to be carved with great precision to ensure that the colored
sections met perfectly.