THE FLOATING WORLD
Ukiyo-e (浮世絵, Japanese:"pictures of the floating world"), are genre of Japanese woodblock prints and paintings that flourished in the 17th to 19th centuries. Mostly aimed at the prosperous merchant class in the urbanising Edo period (1603–1867), these works explored a wide variety of themes. Some of the more popular themes included depictions of beautiful women, kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers, scenes from history and folk tales, travel scenes and landscapes, flora and fauna, and erotica.
While some ukiyo-e artists specialised in making paintings, most works were prints. Artists rarely carved their own woodblocks for printing; rather, production was divided between the artist, who designed the prints; the carver, who cut the woodblocks; the printer, who inked and pressed the woodblocks onto hand-made paper; and the publisher, who financed, promoted, and distributed the works. As printing was done by hand, printers were able to achieve effects impractical with machines, such as the blending or gradation of colours on the printing block.
INDIGO BLUE ART is pleased to present a varied selection of vintage Japanese woodblock prints from our collection as part of an affordable online exhibition.