Japanese Woodblock Prints (1800 - 1868)

By the 19th century, Japanese woodblock prints achieved extraordinary popularity. While the shogunate issued a battery of censorship reforms throughout the 1800s, artists ignored and evaded restrictions with images of indulgent beauties and vibrant kabuki actors. As constraints tightened in the 1840s, bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women) became earthier in prints by Eizan and Eisen, while kabuki actors persevered in the work of Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III). During this period, ukiyo-e artists also added landscapes, warriors, ghosts and scenes of everyday life to their oeuvre. Artists such as Hokusai and Hiroshige indulged a national wanderlust through Meisho-e or “famous place pictures,” while Kuniyoshi championed musha-e, a genre of warrior and legendary pictures.


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