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.
Flowers and Birds: Genji and His Companions Sharing a Boat
Fireworks over Ryogoku Bridge in the Eastern Capital: Illustration of the Prosperity of the River Opening
Plum Garden at Omurai: The Seven Plants of Autumn
Flowers and Birds: Genji and His Companions