“Woodblock Prints in the Ukiyo-e Style”

Kanagawa Oki Nami Ura, also known as The Great Wave is one of the most famous Japanese Woodblock paintings. Japanese woodblock printing is a technique that has been used since around the eighth century and started as a way to dictate Buddhist scriptures. What started as a way to spread information easily, became a massively popular way of painting in the eighteenth century. Suddenly, due to new technologies, paintings showing life during the Edo period Japan began appearing showing the life of actors, courtesans, noblemen and women, and architecture. Woodblock printing was not easy, however, needing four different people to fully execute the print (a designer, an engraver, a printer, and a publisher). Despite the initial difficult process, after the piece was finished, it could be copied by the thousands, allowing the art to spread all across Asia.


  1. Department of Asian Art. “Woodblock Prints in the Ukiyo-e Style.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/ukiy/hd_ukiy.htm (October 2003)
Author: Charlotte Becker

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