In the last article series, we presented the story of Shunga ”(春 画 Shunga) a Japanese erotic art. This is in a branch of a traditional art called Ukiyo-e Now let’s talk about this kind of art.
Ukiyo-e (浮世 絵) means “a light world” or “floating world”. This word was originally a Buddhist term that refers to the transience of life and freedom from freedom. Later it was transformed into a word that refers to the urban lifestyle of the Edo period. The people from the Edo period were obsessed with secular matters, fun, and entertainment. With the support of the economic and social economy, entertainment products such as novels or graphic novels were widely popular. The images present the story of life in society are therefore called ukiyo-e, meaning “Picture of the world drifting”
Many people think that Ukiyo-e is just a woodblock print, but in reality, woodcut prints are just one of the ukiyo-e manufacturing techniques. Ukiyo-e is also produced in other techniques, such as painting on paper, on silk scrolls (painted with paint or ink), but the ukiyo-e usually uses a production system. A lot of iterations are used in the woodcut printing technique to create a mould by carving the wood into the desired pattern and printing it out. A single mold may print hundreds of images until the die is worn or broken. Therefore, these images are affordable and can easily be bought by the general public. Unlike traditional paintings, scroll paintings are often very expensive and are painted upon request by the nobility, Shogun or royal court as they were in a position to possess these scrolls.
Ukiyo-e is a collaboration between the painter and the publisher. Where the painter takes the original painting and sends it to the printing house to make it into a mold and print out in large numbers to sell to the villagers, shops, markets at affordable prices. Sometimes it is used as a seal label. Artists will receive compensation from the original work, a percentage of sales and the reputation as an artist. As for the printing house, it receives the percentage from the sales profit. This can be considered as an ancient printing industry trick but of course, some painters can make their own prints as well) thi is a true integration of art and commerce.