Ukiyo-e

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Paintings of the Floating World

Paintings of the Floating World

Ukiyo-e is a type of woodblock print, which originated in Japan and was most popular during the Edo period. Ukiyo-e literally translates to "paintings of the floating world" because the subjects of the paintings were often geisha, kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers, which were believed to be somewhat disconnected from real life.

In later years, paintings of landscapes such as the famous Hokusai painting of the wave also became popular. The original ukiyo-e started as monochrome but eventually incorporated colors. These original ukiyo-e works were also much more expensive and only the rich could afford to the nature that they were handmade. With the development of woodblock printing allowing for mass production, the paintings became more easily available to the public.

As technology developed and other means of capturing art like photography took over, ukiyo-e popularity diminished. As ukiyo-e made its way to Europe though, Impressionist painters are said to have been influenced by these works. Today works of ukiyo-e can be seen in art museums and galleries.

Sharaku and Bijinga

Sharaku and Bijinga

Ukiyo-e | Related Pages

Obuse Hokusai Museum

Obuse Hokusai Museum

Features ukiyoe works by famous painter Katsushika Hokusai

Edo Tokyo Museum

Edo Tokyo Museum

Museum shows how the 15th century village of Edo grew to be Tokyo

Edo Wonderland

Edo Wonderland

A history theme park depicting life during the Edo Period in Tochigi Prefecture

Kanagawa Prefecture

Kanagawa Prefecture

Most popular tourist destinations are Yokohama, Kamakura and Hakone.

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