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12/11/2010

ukiyo-e

Ukiyo-e (浮世 絵, Ukiyo-e?), "Pictures of the floating world" or Japanese prints. It is a genre of prints (made by engraving or woodcut technique) produced in Japan between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries, among which are landscape images, the theater and pleasure quarters.

Ukiyo, refers to the impetuous young culture that bloomed in the urban center of Edo (now Tokyo), Osaka, and Kyoto and was a world unto themselves. It is an ironic allusion to the homophone term "Sorrowful World" (憂き 世), the earthly plane of death and rebirth in which Buddhism is based.

This art form reached its pinnacle of popularity in the metropolitan culture of Edo during the second half of the seventeenth century, originating with the work of a single color of Hishiwa Moronobu in early 1670. At first, only India ink was used, then some prints were manually colored with brushes, but in the eighteenth century Haronobudesarrollo Suzuki technique of polychrome printing to produce nishiki-e

The Ukiyo-e was accessible as it could be produced in bulk. Were mostly purchased by people who usually did not have enough money to buy an original painting. The original subject of ukiyo-e was city life, particularly activities and entertainment scenes. Beautiful courtesans, bulky sumo wrestlers and popular actors would be portrayed while engaged in appealing activities. Later on landscapes also became popular, and political issues and images of individuals from the lower strata of society were forbidden subjects becoming very rarely appeared. Sex was a taboo subject, but continually appeared in ukiyo-e prints. Artists and publishers were sometimes punished for creating ukiyo-e scenes of explicit sex, also known as shunga

 

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