“Japanese Courtesans” c.1918 Hand Colored Woodblock Print

Woodblock printing is one of the earliest printing methods dating as early as 220 AD. The practice originated in China as stamps and seals for official documents. Woodblock techniques were widely used in East Asia, but slowly moved west and became popular with artists and printmakers like Albrecht Durer. The area where woodblocks remain the most popular is Japan. The most universally identifiable woodblocks come from that area. Traditional woodblock printing is a beautiful and meditative process. In the videos below, master printmaker Keiji Shinohara demonstrates the traditional Japanese woodblock process and the intricate process of this ancient process.

 

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