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Japanese Woodblock Prints

Woodblock printing in Japan (木版画, moku-hanga) is a technique best known for its use in the ukiyo-e artistic genre of single sheets, but it was also used for printing books in the same period. Woodblock printing had been used in China for centuries to print books, long before the advent of movable type, but was widely adopted in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868).
Woodblock printing appeared in Japan at the beginning of Edo period, when Tokugawa shogunate was ruled by th​e Japanese society. This technique originated from China, where it was used to print books for many centuries. Its original name is ‘moku-hanga’ and it has a wide usage in artistic genre of ‘ukiyo-e’.
As opposed to western tradition, where artists used oil-based inks for woodcuts, moku-hanga technique uses water-based inks. That is why those prints had colors so vivid, as well as glazes, and transparency.
This collection describes Japanese printmaking different schools and movements. The most notable of them were:
- From 1700: Torii school
- From 1700-1714: Kaigetsudō school
- From 1720s: Katasukawa school, including the artists Shunsho and Shuntei
- From 1725: Kawamata school including the artists Suzuki Harunobu and Koryusai
- From 1786: Hokusai school, including the artists Hokusai, Hokuei and Gakutei
- From 1794: Kitagawa school, including the artists Utamaro I, Kikumaro I and II
- From 1842: Utagawa school, including the artists Kunisada and Hiroshige
- From 1904: Sōsaku-hanga, "Creative Prints" movement
- From 1915: Shin-hanga "New Prints" school, including Hasui Kawase and Hiroshi Yoshida
Woodblock prints were provided by the Library of Congress and cover the period from 1600 to 1980.
Yatsushi kikujidō
1599
1599
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1930
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1930
3,295 Media in collectionpage 1 of 33
Sumō

Sumō

Print showing scenes related to the Soga family.

[Lovers in an autumn meadow]

[Lovers in an autumn meadow]

Print shows a young man and a young woman embracing in a meadow. Title devised by Library staff. Adachi modern reprint (Showa). Forms part of: Japanese prints and drawings (Library of Congress).

[Two lovers embracing in front of a painted screen]

[Two lovers embracing in front of a painted screen]

Print shows a young man sitting on the floor, embracing a young woman straddling him.

[A betrothal ceremony]

[A betrothal ceremony]

Print shows an interior scene with a man entering on the right outside a room with several women; on the left shows a similarly dressed man addressing a woman behind a screen.

[A popular beauty]

[A popular beauty]

Print shows a woman, full-length, standing, facing left. Title devised by Library staff. Adachi modern reprint (Showa). Forms part of: Japanese prints and drawings (Library of Congress).

[The spear dance]

[The spear dance]

Print shows a male dancer during a spear dance. Title devised by Library staff. Adachi modern reprint (Showa). Forms part of: Japanese prints and drawings (Library of Congress).

[Two lovers under an umbrella]

[Two lovers under an umbrella]

Print shows a man and a woman, full-length, walking beneath an umbrella. Title devised by Library staff. Adachi modern reprint (Showa). Forms part of: Japanese prints and drawings (Library of Congress).

Iwai sagenta [to] katsuyama matagorō

Iwai sagenta [to] katsuyama matagorō

Print shows actors Iwai Sagenta and Katsuyama Matagorō, one reclining on a veranda, the other about to climb steps to the veranda.

Nami ni goshoguruma moyō no tachi bijin

Nami ni goshoguruma moyō no tachi bijin

Print shows a courtesan, facing left, wearing a waterwheel and waves pattern kimono.

Daimyō gyōretsu no ezu

Daimyō gyōretsu no ezu

Print shows a long procession of men (nobility or government officials) on foot. Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. Format: horizontal Ob... more

Tekkai sennin

Tekkai sennin

Print shows a woman holding her hands over a man's eyes and blowing a puff of air upon which a small male figure ascends; another woman is waving to the man on the puff of air and appears to be offering him a s... more

[Reading a love letter]

[Reading a love letter]

Print shows a young woman reading a love letter. Title devised by Library staff. Adachi modern reprint (Showa). Forms part of: Japanese prints and drawings (Library of Congress).

Rajōmon

Rajōmon

Print shows a warrior fighting a demon, possibly Ibaraki, at the Rashomon gate. Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. Format: Oban. Adachi m... more

Tōjin gyōretsu no ezu ichi

Tōjin gyōretsu no ezu ichi

Print shows a procession of Chinese men on horseback and on foot, some carrying a palanquin.

Takenuki gorō

Takenuki gorō

Print shows a man, possibly Tokimune Soga (Gorō), uprooting bamboo.

Taka no ha moyō no tachi bijin

Taka no ha moyō no tachi bijin

Print shows a courtesan wearing feather-pattern kimono.

[Preparing for the first battle]

[Preparing for the first battle]

Print shows a young woman arranging a warrior's hair prior to entering a battle. Title devised by Library staff. Adachi modern reprint (Showa). Forms part of: Japanese prints and drawings (Library of Congress).

[A popular hero, Shibaraku]

[A popular hero, Shibaraku]

Print shows an actor as a samurai making a grand entrance at the "Shibaraku" moment on the kabuki stage. Title devised by Library staff. Adachi modern reprint (Showa). Forms part of: Japanese prints and drawing... more

[A beauty with an umbrella]

[A beauty with an umbrella]

Print shows the actor Nakamura Sanya as a young woman standing beneath an umbrella, wearing a head covering and geta.

Yūjo chōkarō

Yūjo chōkarō

Print shows a courtesan portraying the Chinese sage Zhang Guo Lao Chōkarō releasing his magic horse from a small gourd.

Benkei to kodomo (ataka no matsu)

Benkei to kodomo (ataka no matsu)

Print shows the legendary monk warrior Benkei offering gifts to two children who have been gathering pine needles.

Kaya no uchisoto

Kaya no uchisoto

Print shows a man, woman, and a child resting outside mosquito netting. Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. Adachi modern reprint (Showa).... more

Toragaishi

Toragaishi

Print shows a woman standing and a warrior attempting to pick up a large rock. Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. Format: horizontal Chub... more

Haha to ko

Haha to ko

Print shows a mother and her son with an open book; the boy is resting on top of the book, preventing his mother from reading it.

Kage e

Kage e

Print shows two geishas entertaining a man, one is making shadow puppets and the other is playing a shamisen.

Shuen

Shuen

Print shows two geishas and a man eating; there is a shamisen next to one of the women, the other is holding a tea or sake pot. Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo prin... more

Ichikawa danjūrō [to] ichikawa monnosuke

Ichikawa danjūrō [to] ichikawa monnosuke

Print shows the actor Ichikawa Monnosuke as a courtesan and Ichikawa Danjūrō as a merchant.

Sannin no yakusha

Sannin no yakusha

Print shows three actors, two playing shamisens and one with a teapot or sake pot, two are in the roles of women.

[Wild horses running in water, across a river or in surf]

[Wild horses running in water, across a river or in surf]

Title devised by Library staff, other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. From the series: Ehon shahōbukuro : Illustrated book of bag of painted treasures... more

[Two oxen, one under a willow tree and one under a plum tree]

[Two oxen, one under a willow tree and one under a plum tree]

Title devised by Library staff, other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. From the series: Ehon shahōbukuro : Illustrated book of bag of painted treasures... more

[Ram and autumn mallow]

[Ram and autumn mallow]

Title devised by Library staff, other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. From the series: Ehon shahōbukuro : Illustrated book of bag of painted treasures... more

[Foxes and chrysanthemums]

[Foxes and chrysanthemums]

Title devised by Library staff, other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. From the series: Ehon shahōbukuro : Illustrated book of bag of painted treasures... more

[Wild boars running, on cliffs, and near pine trees]

[Wild boars running, on cliffs, and near pine trees]

Title devised by Library staff, other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. From the series: Ehon shahōbukuro : Illustrated book of bag of painted treasures... more

[Domestic cat nursing kittens]

[Domestic cat nursing kittens]

Title devised by Library staff, other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. Matted with no. 2049; prints overlap each other. From the series: Ehon shahōbuku... more

[Deer, two bucks fighting, next to a stream]

[Deer, two bucks fighting, next to a stream]

Title devised by Library staff, other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. From the series: Ehon shahōbukuro : Illustrated book of bag of painted treasures... more

[Wolves and winter reeds]

[Wolves and winter reeds]

Title devised by Library staff, other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. From the series: Ehon shahōbukuro : Illustrated book of bag of painted treasures... more

[Soga Goro making puns]

[Soga Goro making puns]

Print shows one of the Soga brothers, Goro (Tokimune), dressed as a warrior surrounded by text containing puns. Title devised by Library staff. Adachi modern reprint (Showa). Forms part of: Japanese prints and ... more

[A lover's quarrel]

[A lover's quarrel]

Print shows a man, scowling, with a shoulder pole and a basket full of jars and bowls, standing in front of a woman with a smug look on her face.

Hanauri

Hanauri

Print shows a woman selling flowers in pots on shelves suspended from a shoulder pole. Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-2006. Format: Hosob... more

Ueno ikenohata sakura no hanami no kei

Ueno ikenohata sakura no hanami no kei

Print shows many people in a pavilion and in Ueno Park viewing blossoms on cherry trees. Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. Format: Uki-e... more

[Moon viewing at Shinagawa]

[Moon viewing at Shinagawa]

Print shows men and women eating and entertaining while looking at the full moon at a large building or pavilion in Shinagawa, on the Tōkaidō Road.

Hidari izutsu no mae

Hidari izutsu no mae

Print shows a geisha, standing, playing a zither.

San katada no rakugan

San katada no rakugan

Print shows geese descending near a pavilion at the end of a long wharf in a lake, with two people in a small boat in the foreground. Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Ed... more

[Rivals contending for a beauty]

[Rivals contending for a beauty]

Print shows two men arguing with each other over which one has the right to claim the affections of the woman seated behind them.

Ichikawa ebizō no shinozuka goseki yaburi

Ichikawa ebizō no shinozuka goseki yaburi

Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. Format: Hosoban Urushi-e. Ukiyoe oroshi [gōrd] Tori shio cho Okumura-ya. Forms part of: Japanese print... more

Setsubun mamemaki

Setsubun mamemaki

Print shows family members eating beans in a room and a man, with a box of beans, appears about to toss a handful into the room; scene taking place during the annual bean throwing festival to expell demons from... more

[A willing letter writer]

[A willing letter writer]

Print shows a man with two women, one of the women is writing a letter.

Kyō

Kyō

Print shows a man and a woman playing a game, possibly go, on a kimono with a ruled pattern. Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. From the ... more

[Oman the seller of cosmetics]

[Oman the seller of cosmetics]

Print shows Oman, a peddler selling cosmetics, with a large box strapped to his/her back. Title devised by Library staff. Adachi modern reprint (Showa). Forms part of: Japanese prints and drawings (Library of Congress).

[The beauty Osome]

[The beauty Osome]

Print shows Osome, a tragic beauty, full-length, standing, looking at a book. Title devised by Library staff. Adachi modern reprint (Showa). Forms part of: Japanese prints and drawings (Library of Congress).

Ichikawa danjūrō [to] sakata hangorō

Ichikawa danjūrō [to] sakata hangorō

Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. Adachi modern reprint (Showa). Purchase; H. Irving Olds; 1938. Forms part of: the H. Irving Olds colle... more

Ichikawa monnosuke

Ichikawa monnosuke

Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. Adachi modern reprint (Showa). Purchase; H. Irving Olds; 1938. Forms part of: the H. Irving Olds colle... more

[Beauties of the three capitals triptych]

[Beauties of the three capitals triptych]

Print shows three courtesans, full-length, standing. Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. From the series: Santo sanpukutsui. Adachi modern... more

Sanogawa ichimatsu no shakkyō

Sanogawa ichimatsu no shakkyō

Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. Format: Hosoban Urushie. Rare work. Ichimatsu went to Edo in Kampo, so this urushi-e print is unusual ... more

[Hanging poems on a cherry tree]

[Hanging poems on a cherry tree]

Print shows a woman, full-length, standing, hanging poems in a blossoming cherry tree.

Sugawara no michizane zō

Sugawara no michizane zō

Print shows Sugawara Michizane, full-length portrait, seated beneath a flowering tree.

[Playing with a puppet]

[Playing with a puppet]

Print shows kabuki actor Sanogawa Ichimatsu I in the role of a puppeteer, standing, full-length, facing right, holding a puppet of the courtesan Matsuyama above his head. Title devised by Library staff. Adachi ... more

[Beauty holding a book]

[Beauty holding a book]

Print shows a woman, full-length, standing in front of an illustrated screen, holding a book.

[Two lovers in a boat]

[Two lovers in a boat]

Print shows a man and a woman in a boat; the man is holding a small drum and appears to be serenading the woman beneath the moon.

[The black knight]

[The black knight]

Print shows a man, possibly an actor or a samurai, with sword, holding an umbrella, wearing a black kimono and geta. Title devised by Library staff. Adachi modern reprint (Showa). Forms part of: Japanese prints... more

[Two girls whispering]

[Two girls whispering]

Print shows a woman, sitting, embracing a young girl, and whispering to her.

[Passing a love letter]

[Passing a love letter]

Print shows a young man discretely passing a love letter from beneath the folds of his kimono.

Nawasudare

Nawasudare

Print shows a child emerging from behind a rope curtain. Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-2006. Format: Hosoban Benizurie. Forms part of: J... more

Sawamura kodenji to otoko

Sawamura kodenji to otoko

Print shows two actors, one holding a fan, the other, in the role of a woman, is holding a drum. Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. Forma... more

Momiji mi sanpukutsui

Momiji mi sanpukutsui

Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. Format: horizontal Oban Benizuri-e. Three Hosoban images on a single sheet. Forms part of: Japanese pr... more

Ichikawa ebizō no kinzaemon yorikata

Ichikawa ebizō no kinzaemon yorikata

Print shows the actor Ichikawa Ebizō as Kinzaemon Yorikata fighting a tiger. Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. Format: Hosoban Benizuri-... more

Ichikawa ebizō nakamura denkurō ichikawa yaozō

Ichikawa ebizō nakamura denkurō ichikawa yaozō

Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. Format: Hosoban Benizuri-e. Attributed to: Torii, Kiyomitsu. Forms part of: Japanese prints and drawin... more

Kaki mogi[tori?]

Kaki mogi[tori?]

Print shows a young man holding a young woman on his shoulders as she reaches to pick persimmons from a branch above them. Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print spe... more

Ito zukuri

Ito zukuri

Print shows two women preparing silk thread. Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-2006. From the series: Hōnen kaiko yōiku : Sericulture. Forma... more

Migi

Migi

Print shows a man and a woman, wearing geta, walking beneath an umbrella next to a blossoming tree. Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. Fr... more

[Ito nishiki brocade, commonly called anhera-ori (weave)]

[Ito nishiki brocade, commonly called anhera-ori (weave)]

Drawing shows floral and vine designs for kimonos. Title and date devised by Library staff, no information provided by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-2006. Forms part of: David Murray colle... more

[Two musicians seated on a bench, wearing geta]

[Two musicians seated on a bench, wearing geta]

Print shows a man and a woman sitting on a bench, playing a shamisen. Title devised by Library staff. Adachi modern reprint (Showa). Forms part of: Japanese prints and drawings (Library of Congress).

Chatsumi

Chatsumi

Print shows two women with short benches and small baskets, and a young boy; one of the women is picking tea leaves, the other has finished her task and is departing with the young boy. Title and other descript... more

[A monk wearing a mask(?) with a horn, sitting on the ground, beating a drum (tsuri-daiko)]

[A monk wearing a mask(?) with a horn, sitting on the ground, beating ...

Title and date devised by Library staff, no information provided by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-2006. Forms part of: Japanese prints and drawings (Library of Congress).

[Ito nishiki (yarn brocade)]

[Ito nishiki (yarn brocade)]

Print shows stylized designs, possibly of rabbits, for kimonos. Title and date devised by Library staff, no information provided by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-2006. Forms part of: Japan... more

[Akaki kinran (gold brocade with red background)] [Shiro aya (white twill weaves, also known as Chinese twill weaves)].

[Akaki kinran (gold brocade with red background)] [Shiro aya (white tw...

Drawings show stylized patterned designs for kimonos.

[Nishiki brocade with cherry blossoms and wave designs on red background]

[Nishiki brocade with cherry blossoms and wave designs on red backgrou...

Drawing shows stylized flower (cherry blossom) designs for kimonos.

[Ra (Usumono gauze weave)] [Sha gauze weave with stripes].

[Ra (Usumono gauze weave)] [Sha gauze weave with stripes].

Drawings show two weaving patterns. Title and date devised by Library staff, no information provided by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-2006. Forms part of: David Murray collection. Forms pa... more

[Kara nishiki (Chinese brocade) with red background] [Kinran (gold brocade) with hollyhock on blue background].

[Kara nishiki (Chinese brocade) with red background] [Kinran (gold bro...

Drawings show stylized floral designs for kimonos. Title and date devised by Library staff, no information provided by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-2006. Forms part of: Japanese prints an... more

[Ra (Usumono) gauze weave]

[Ra (Usumono) gauze weave]

Design drawings for kimonos on fabric. Title and date devised by Library staff, no information provided by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-2006. Forms part of: Japanese prints and drawings (... more

[Donsu, damask with light green peony arabesque]

[Donsu, damask with light green peony arabesque]

Drawing shows peony arabesque design for kimonos.

[Momoiro shusu (pink satin)] [Shima shusu (striped satin)].

[Momoiro shusu (pink satin)] [Shima shusu (striped satin)].

Drawings show solid and striped designs for kimonos.

Chūgoku hanga

Chūgoku hanga

Print shows a Chinese wiseman holding a sword and riding on the back of a tiger.

Engawa no wakai danjo

Engawa no wakai danjo

Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-2006. Format: vertical Chuban Nishikie. Signed Suzuki Harunobu. Modern Reproduction, but apparently NOT ba... more

[Nishiki brocade with Amaterasu Kotai Jingu Shinto shrine] [Nishike brocade with wheelbarrow].

[Nishiki brocade with Amaterasu Kotai Jingu Shinto shrine] [Nishike br...

Drawings show stylized designs for kimonos of a Shinto shrine and a wheelbarrow.

[Rinzu (figured satin)]

[Rinzu (figured satin)]

Drawing shows stylized floral designs for kimonos.

Onoe kikugorō [to] nakamura kiyosaburō

Onoe kikugorō [to] nakamura kiyosaburō

Print shows actors Onoe Kikugorō and Nakamura Kiyosaburō, wearing geta, portraying street musicians.

[Nishike brocade with paulownia arabesque, with red background]

[Nishike brocade with paulownia arabesque, with red background]

Drawing shows bright floral, leaf, and vine designs for kimonos. Title and date devised by Library staff, no information provided by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-2006. Forms part of: Davi... more

Sawamura Sōjūrō no Soga no Jūrō to Ichikawa Yaozō no Soga no Gorō

Sawamura Sōjūrō no Soga no Jūrō to Ichikawa Yaozō no Soga no Gorō

Print shows two actors (possibly Sawamura Sōjūrō, 1685-1756, and Ichikawa Yaozō) in the roles of two brothers who attempt to revenge their father's murder. Title and other descriptive information compiled by Ni... more

Ichikawa danjūrō no sukeroku

Ichikawa danjūrō no sukeroku

Title and other descriptive information compiled by Nichibunken-sponsored Edo print specialists in 2005-06. Format: Hosoban Benizuri-e. Forms part of: Japanese prints and drawings (Library of Congress).