Store Front Account Basket Contents   Checkout
Homepage | About Us | Shipping | Reference | Mailing List | Help |
Search for:
Sign In

Feng Shui
Gifts & Decor
Jewelry
Netsuke & Inro
Shop By Creature
Snuff Bottles
Tableware
Tea Shop
The Clearance Items

Ukiyo-e is probably the best known and most popular style of Japanese art.  Like artistic eras in other parts of the world, Ukiyo-e art was produced in a variety of different media, including painting.  Ukiyo-e, which is Japanese for "pictures of the floating world”, is primarily associated with a style of woodblock print making that depicted scenes of harmony and carefree everyday living.  Because it used woodblocks to make a number of prints, Ukiyo-e took art from being the domain of the upper classes and royalty.  This then made it more accessible to the common people. 

Ukiyo-e became popular around the mid-nineteenth century.  One of the first major artists in the Ukiyo-e was Monorobu Hishikawa, who produced single color prints made with woodblocks.  Hishikawa, who was an illustrator for a book publisher, had to argue very hard to convince his superiors that printing and selling single sheet artworks would be a lucrative enterprise.  This is certainly ironic, since Ukiyo-e became one of the most popular and lucrative forms of art the world has ever seen.  

Hishikawa became the first Ukiyo-e "master”, and once his works had achieved widespread fame, he began to accept pupils.  His actions created a trend, and soon other master artists were working with students to promote several different styles of print-making.  The most popular subjects for Ukiyo-e prints at first were women, usually prostitutes, or "courtesans", and Ukiyo-e became known for its almost pornographic qualities.  However, not all Ukiyo-e prints featured nudity.  In fact, many were full length portraits of women displaying their kimonos not unlike modern fashion models. 

The first Ukiyo-e prints used a single color – custom prints with added color had to be finished by hand.  Though later developments allowed the use of three, and then finally multiple colors, the process of woodblock printing remained basically the same.  The artist would produce a master painting, which was then traced by craftsmen who carefully marked where each color would be placed.  Then these craftsmen would make templates for each color, producing a separate woodblock for each one.  The woodblocks were then pressed sequentially onto the paper in a certain order, producing the final product. 

The Ukiyo-e style remained popular into the nineteenth century.  While courtesans and other women remained popular subjects, landscapes, city scenes, and many other scenes from everyday life began to emerge as popular subjects as the art form became more widespread.  Ando Hiroshige, a woodblock artist who began producing works around the beginning of the nineteenth century, is widely regarded as one of the best Ukiyo-e artists.  His master works, a series of prints called Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido, are considered as some of the finest Ukiyo-e prints, and his passing in 1858 more or less coincided with the end of the Ukiyo-e woodblock printing era.


 

Geishas Kabuki Theatre
Sumo Wrestling The Castles of Japan
 
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
 

 


About Us | Contact Info | Email Us | Homepage | Main Mall Page | Help