“Japanese Prints 1868–2008”

Smith, Lawrence. “Japanese Prints 1868–2008.” Since Meiji: Perspectives on the Japanese Visual Arts, 1868-2000, edited by J. Thomas Rimer, by Toshiko McCallum, University of Hawai’i Press, Honolulu, 2012, pp. 361–407. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wqh84.20. Accessed 26 Mar. 2021.

Japanese woodblock prints have been around since the eighth century, however, they gained new popularity for artists in the seventeenth century. From then on, the daily life of Geishas, landscapes, and animals was most often printed showing a beautiful and almost perfect Japan. However, political and social events were often not depicted in Japanese Woodblock Prints from the mid-Meiji era onwards. In the 1990s that all changed; artists began drawing modern events onto their prints making statements about the current state of Japanese society. Geishas were now used to represent real-world events and landscapes were shown with decaying plants to call on global warming the effect of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Masami Teraoka, is a contemporary Japanese painter who did a series on the AIDS crisis. The piece to the right is titled  “Geisha in Bath” (2008) and shows a modern day Geisha in a bathtub opening condoms with her teeth.

Artist: Masami Teraoka (b.1936)

Title: Geisha in Bath

Medium: Washi on Woodblock with Ink and Color

Date Created: 2008

Dimensions: 46.5 cm by 32.0 cm

Credit: Asian Collection Benefactors’ Fund 2012

Accession number: 139.2012

Copyright: Masami Teraoka

Location: Japan


  1. https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/139.2012/?tab=details

Author: Charlotte Becker

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