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THE ARTIST – SUGIMURA

Uncovering information specific to Asian woodblock artists is typically not difficult.  However, when it comes to the artist, Sugimura, the truth is that very little is known.  We do know that he was a Japanese Ukiyo-e printmaker who began his career in 1681 and stopped in 1703. 

This artist’s full name was Sugimura Jihei.  He created beautiful and detailed woodblock prints specific to Ukiyo-e, which is the “image of the floating world”.  In addition, Ukiyo is actually the term associated with Buddhism, cover suffering and sadness while a person lives on earth.  The “e” is related to Edo, which is the current day Tokyo.  Therefore, an artist such as Sugimura who was an Ukiyo-e printmaker you would know that he focused much of his work on the world of Buddha while painting in Tokyo. 

Keep in mind that during the 6th and 17th centuries, changes were made with woodblock prints now focusing more on everyday life.  In fact, art at this time became very descriptive, which was seen in extreme detailing.  Then, beautiful women became a primary focus with special attention being made to the clothes and white faces, actually becoming the foundation on which Ukiyo-e and prints were made. 

Then, a book illustrator by the name of Hishikawa Moronobu created as many as 150 books.  As the son of an embroiderer, Hishikawa learned his trade with top masters from Kanoo and Tosa schools.  As a part of his illustration and paintings, this man created many “floating world” pieces, focusing on theater scenes.  While many of his pieces had stereotyped faces, the interaction and movement of the characters made him famous. 

Many of Hishikawa’s books were a huge success, actually having single sheets sold, which started art prints in Japan.  Since color printing was unavailable at this time, he was required to prepare the block prior to printing while being highly creative.  This means each sheet sold was beautifully hand-painted so there were no two prints identical. 

Around this same period, Sugimura Jihei also started selling prints.  In this case, his work was very different from Hishikawa, usually depicting scenes of favorite legends.  What make Sugimura stand out is that no other artist was focusing attention on this area at that time.  The prints were of good quality and the faces were far more expressive than the work of Hishikawa.  While there is little known about Sugimura, we do know that his illustrations were often first attributed to Moronobu.


Read more about Japanese Woodblock Prints:
  Japanese Woodblock Prints   Ukiyo-e   Toyokuni Utagawa   Eisen Kikugawa   Hiroshige Ando   Utamaro Kitigawa

 

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The Great Wave by Hokusai
The Great Wave by Hokusai
Code:fw1002
Price:$27.95
Kabuki by Utagawa
Kabuki by Utagawa
Code:fw1121
Price:$27.95
3 Beauties by Utamaro
3 Beauties by Utamaro
Code:fw1118
Price:$27.95
General in Battle by Utagawa
General in Battle by Utagawa
Code:fw1120
Price:$27.95
Mt Fuji by Hiroshige
Mt Fuji by Hiroshige
Code:fw1010
Price:$27.95
 

 


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