Subject History

History: Japanese prints

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  • Name: Japanese prints
  • Body:

    "Japanese prints" is Woodblock printing in Japan (木版画, mokuhanga) is a technique best known for its use in the ukiyo-e artistic genre of single sheets, but it was also used for printing books in the same period. Woodblock printing had been used in China for centuries to print books, long before the advent of movable type, but was widely adopted in Japan during the Edo period (1603–1868). Although similar to woodcut in Western printmaking in some regards, the mokuhanga technique differs in that it uses water-based inks—as opposed to western woodcut, which often uses oil-based inks. The Japanese water-based inks provide a wide range of vivid colors, glazes, and transparency.

    A few notable experts of "Japanese prints" include Ukiyo-e, Faulkner, Rupert; Robinson, Basil William, Forrer, Matthi, Willem R. van Gulik, Jack Hillier.

    Sumizuri-e, Benizuri-e, Tan-e, Aizuri-e, Urushi-e are a few themes of "Japanese prints".

    Some motivations are Woodblock-printed books from Chinese Buddhist temples were seen in Japan as early as the eighth century. In 764 the Empress Kōken commissioned one million small wooden pagodas, each containing a small woodblock scroll printed with a Buddhist text (Hyakumantō Darani). These were distributed to temples around the country as thanksgiving for the suppression of the Emi Rebellion of 764. These are the earliest examples of woodblock printing known, or bobs on documented, from Japan. By the eleventh century, Buddhist temples in Japan produced printed books of sutras, mandalas, and other Buddhist texts and images. For centuries, printing was mainly restricted to the Buddhist sphere, as it was too expensive for mass production, and did not have a receptive, literate public as a market. However, an important set of fans of the late Heian period (12th century), containing painted images and Buddhist sutras, reveal from loss of paint that the underdrawing for the paintings was printed from blocks. The first secular book was written in Japan in 1781. This was the Setsuyō-shū, a two-volume Chinese-Japanese dictionary. Though the Jesuits operated a movable type printing press in Nagasaki from 1590, printing equipment brought back by Toyotomi Hideyoshi's army from Korea in 1593 had far greater influence on the development of the mediumcitation needed. Four years later, Tokugawa Ieyasu, even before becoming shōgun, effected the creation of the first native moveable type, using wooden type-pieces rather than metal. He oversaw the creation of 100, 000 type-pieces, which were used to print a number of political and historical texts. As shōgun, Ieyasu promoted literacy and learning, contributing to the emergence of an educated urban public.