Japanese Woodblock Prints (1600 - 1800)

Early ukiyo-e, or pictures (e) of the floating world (ukiyo), emerged around 1660 with monochrome prints. The masters of this “primitive” period, such as Moronobu and Masanobu, are known for their elegant and vital lines. By 1700, the first early color prints emerged. Hand-colored with vegetable-based pigments, this process proved costly and was replaced by full-color printing in 1765. Known as the father of color printing, Harunobu ushered in the era of nishiki-e, or brocade pictures, with sensitivity and subtlety. The late 18th century welcomed a “golden age” of ukiyo-e, during which time artists developed the use of color and diversified their approach to subject matter. Sharaku imbued his actor portraits with a greater sense of individualism, while Utamaro delved deeper into the “greenhouses” of the Yoshiwara, considering the private lives of courtesans. Browse our collection of early ukiyo-e below.

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Kabuki Actors Nakayama Tomisaburo I and Ichikawa Danjuro V

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Kabuki Actors Nakayama Tomisaburo I and Ichikawa Danjuro V

JP-208357

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Kabuki Actor Sawamura Sojuro III

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Kabuki Actor Sawamura Sojuro III

JP-208268

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Kabuki Actor Segawa Kikunojo III as Onami Disguised as Dragon Princess

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Kabuki Actor Segawa Kikunojo III as Onami Disguised as Dragon Princess

JP-208176

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Kabuki Actor Sawamura Sojuro III as Hayano Kanpei

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Kabuki Actor Sawamura Sojuro III as Hayano Kanpei

JP-208171

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Kabuki Actor Segawa Kikunojo III as Tomoe Gozen

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Kabuki Actor Segawa Kikunojo III as Tomoe Gozen

JPR-100370

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Kabuki Actor Otani Hiroemon III as Renegade Monk Dainichibo

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Kabuki Actor Otani Hiroemon III as Renegade Monk Dainichibo

JP5073

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Kabuki Actor Segawa Kikunojo III

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Kabuki Actor Segawa Kikunojo III

JP1-43942

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Kabuki Actor Otani Oniji III

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Kabuki Actor Otani Oniji III

JP-111392

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Kabuki Actor Otani Hiroji III

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Kabuki Actor Otani Hiroji III

JP-111374

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Kabuki Actor Sawamura Sojuro III

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Kabuki Actor Sawamura Sojuro III

JP-111368

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Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Danjuro V as Taruhiroi Goro

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Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Danjuro V as Taruhiroi Goro

JP-111366

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Kabuki Actor Nakamura Riko as Gaku no Osan

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Kabuki Actor Nakamura Riko as Gaku no Osan

JP-111370

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Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Danjuro V as Medicine Peddler

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Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Danjuro V as Medicine Peddler

JP-111372

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Kabuki Actor Bando Matataro IV (?)

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Kabuki Actor Bando Matataro IV (?)

JP5075

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Kabuki Actor Bando Mitsugoro I as Soga no Juro

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Kabuki Actor Bando Mitsugoro I as Soga no Juro

JP2001

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Kabuki Actor Nakamura Sukegoro II

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Kabuki Actor Nakamura Sukegoro II

JP1-21648

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Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Danjuro V as Renegade Buddhist Monk

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Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Danjuro V as Renegade Buddhist Monk

JP-94091

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Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Danjuro V as Matsuomaru

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Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Danjuro V as Matsuomaru

JPR1-43937

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Kabuki Actor Wakayama Tomisaburo

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Kabuki Actor Wakayama Tomisaburo

JP-101058

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Tea Master and a Young Woman

Masanobu

Tea Master and a Young Woman

JP5129

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Abalone Diver and Kappa

Utamaro

Abalone Diver and Kappa

JP-208267

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Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Ebizo

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Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Ebizo

JP-207817

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Kabuki Actor Segawa Somenosuke as Takao

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Kabuki Actor Segawa Somenosuke as Takao

JPR1-57647

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Courtesan Somenosuke from Matsubaya

Eishi

Courtesan Somenosuke from Matsubaya

JP-208114

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