Although the artist typically received all the credit for the prints, there were four people involved with the making of the prints: The artist who drew the prints and decided on the color scheme, the publisher who commissioned and managed the work, the printer who created the final prints and the carver who cut the wood blocks out of cherry, pear or other similar types of wood. The process started with a black-ink wood block and then graduated to multiple-color wood blocks which ultimately produced the final print.
Archive for August, 2011
Ask anyone who has been to Japan, and they will tell you, you can’t go anywhere in Japan without seeing these statues. Nearly every business in Japan has one displayed somewhere. In Japanese, they are called “Maneki-neko”. In English, there are many interpretations including Beckoning Cat, Lucky Cat and Fortune Cat among others. It may appear to westerners that the cat is waving goodbye. But this is due to the difference in gestures and body language between westerners and the Japanese. The Japanese will call someone to them by holding their hand out, palm down, repeatedly folding their fingers up and down.
Wood-block prints (Ukiyoe in Japanese) are perhaps one of the most recognizable art forms around the world, and are instantly recognizable worldwide as being uniquely Japanese. Because many of these prints were based on everyday life, they provide a view into Japan’s past.
Around the world, art has been reserved for the elite. However, because Ukiyoe were mass produced, this allowed the artists to sell the prints at reduced costs. This, combined with the subject material of the prints, made Ukiyoe very popular with the middle and lower classes of the Edo period (1600 – 1868). Today there are many avid collectors, with more every day. In addition, they were enthusiastically collected by impressionist artists such as Monet, Degas, Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec, whose work was profoundly influenced by them.
Naturally, when people visit Hiroshima, the first item on everyone’s list is the Peace Museum and Park. Then, many people might think about visiting Miyajima Island. But very few people consider visiting Iwakuni. Iwakuni is located just a short 15 minute ride from Hiroshima by Shinkansen to the Shin-Iwakuni train station, or a 40 minute train ride from Hiroshima on the JR Sanyo line to the Iwakuni station. Each station is only a short 15-20 minute bus ride from the major sights in Iwakuni.
Located only a short 15 minute walk from the busy Kaminari-mon gate, one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist destinations, is the sleepy Kappabashi, a concentrated area of wholesale restaurant suppliers. If you are planning to start a restaurant in Tokyo, this is the place to go. Everything you need to start, furnish and operate a restaurant is here in this area. Even if you’re just a frustrated, amateur cook looking to add Japanese cooking utensils to your arsenal, if you are just looking for a different souvenir for someone at home or if you are just looking for inexpensive ceramics and porcelain, then this is the place for you.
Even though Engyo-ji is only 45 to 60 minutes by bus and ropeway from the Himeji train station, this quiet, mountain-top Buddhist temple gives the impression of being much more remote. Engyo-ji has managed to avoid the advance of the modern Japan that has grown around the base of the mountain and has maintained a world of its own. Today, Engyo-ji is best known as one of the film locations for the recent movie “The Last Samurai”. Though most of the movie was filmed in New Zealand, a few of the scenes from the winter hideaway for the Samurai were filmed at Engyo-ji. Engyo-ji is also used for Japanese television period dramas. The temple is number 27 of the 33-temple Saikoku pilgrimage. This pilgrimage located in western Japan is dedicated to Kannon, the goddess of Mercy.