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Woodblock Prints

Japanese Woodblock Prints
Hand printed in Japan using old world techniques

The 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.

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Japan Trivia

The Seikan tunnel in Japan is the longest transportation tunnel in the world.
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