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attributed Moronobu, Japanese, (1618–1694)
Woodblock Print Book Illustration, c. 1675-1700
Ink on Paper
7 3/8 in. x 5 9/16 in. (18.73 cm x 14.13 cm)


Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Period: Edo (Japan, 1615-1868)
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. J. Stanley Johnson
Accession Number: 2000.1.4


Commentary
In the 17th century, publishers realized woodblock printing was a quick and easy way to mass-produce books for the general population. They hired artists to create illustrations that were carved into blocks along with the text and then printed onto the pages. In early books, printing techniques were simple, only allowing black outlines on a white background, so images often featured strong, expressive lines. Hishikawa Moronobu – one of the most famous book illustrators and single-sheet print designers of the 17th century – created some of the earliest ukiyo-e, or “images of the floating world,” featuring urban entertainment districts.

- Meher McArthur, January 7, 2021

Marks
Unsigned.

Medium
Black ink on paper; monochrome printing (sumizuri-e)

Object Description
Late 17th century Japanese black ink woodblock print, depicting a family group, including husband, wife and child below grass script.

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