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Japanese Art QOW #1 - Woodblock Prints

 
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kitsuno
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:01 pm    Post subject: Japanese Art QOW #1 - Woodblock Prints Reply with quote
Japanese Art
Question of the Week #1


This is mostly to satisfy my own curiosity, but how exactly do woodblock prints work - are there a bunch of blocks? For example, one to stamp the background, one for the outlines, one for the characters, etc. or is it just one carved block that an artist adds various colors of paint to?
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shikisoku
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
From my memory of the woodblock print class in Junior high school.
One woodblock per a colour.
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kitsuno
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
shikisoku wrote:
From my memory of the woodblock print class in Junior high school.
One woodblock per a colour.

So the typical woodblock prints would have anywhere from 5 to 15 or more blocks to it?
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JLBadgley
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I believe that is correct. There is an exhibit at the Edo-Tokyo museum--oh, wait, you went to Kyoto instead Wink

Seriously, most of this kind of printing is done in several stages. Usually you make one print per color--I believe, if I remember correctly, you first draw what you want, then you use that to cut out all of your various blocks. It is fairly time consuming, but the pay-off is that you can print multiple copies more easily.

Here are the techniques that Wikipedia has, so you might want to look for more on some of these:

" * Sumizuri-e (墨摺り絵, "ink printed pictures") - monochrome printing using only black ink
* Benizuri-e (紅摺り絵, "crimson printed pictures") - red ink details or highlights added by hand after the printing process;green was sometimes used as well
* Tan-e (丹絵) - orange highlights using a red pigment called tan
* Aizuri-e (藍摺り絵, "indigo printed pictures"), Murasaki-e (紫絵, "purple pictures"), and other styles in which a single color would be used in addition to, or instead of, black ink
* Urushi-e (漆絵) - a method in which glue was used to thicken the ink, emboldening the image; gold, mica and other substances were often used to enhance the image further. Urushi-e can also refer to paintings using lacquer instead of paint; lacquer was very rarely if ever used on prints.
* Nishiki-e (錦絵, "brocade pictures") - a method in which multiple blocks were used for separate portions of the image, allowing a number of colors to be utilized to achieve incredibly complex and detailed images; a separate block would be carved to apply only to the portion of the image designated for a single color. Registration marks called kentō (見当) were used to ensure correspondence between the application of each block."

And here's a documentary on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dliF74ojOho

-Josh
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Matsuhide
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I'd been writing a fairly lengthy overview of mokuhanga in response to this thread when, researching the training of its artisans during the Edo period, I came across this article:

http://woodblock.com/encyclopedia/entries/011_06/ch2_1.html
(Just skip onto "Printmaking Process" if that's all you're interested in, but it's all good info.)

To my ego's dismay, I really couldn't hope to match its simultaneous thorough comprehension AND brevity.
Hope you enjoy! Drool

There's a lot of other more specific resources out there as well if anyone's interested.
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Matsuhide
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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Of the same web site I linked to above, here is a new link of the pilot episode for the NHK World series entitled "Japanophiles" featuring David Bull (the gentleman responsible for the web site in the first place). It is REALLY well done and insiteful in many ways.
http://woodblock.com/press/woodblock_shimbun.php?storyid=tv45
Hope SOMEONE finds it as interesting as I.
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