Thursday, October 29, 2009

Edo Period (1615 - 1868)

The arts began moving away from the aristocratic background and showed scenes from the life of common people. Also, new art forms like kabuki and ukiyo-e became very popular, especially among the townspeople. 

Woodblock print, 1794
Two Kabuki actors, 
Bando Zenji and Sawamura Yodogoro

Kabuki is a traditional Japanese form of theater, best known for the stylization of its drama and elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers. Kabuki plays are about historical events, moral conflicts, love relationships and the like. The actors speak in monotonous voices accompanied by traditional Japanese instruments. 

Ukiyo-e is translated as 'paintings of the floating world' in English. Ukiyo-e paintings are made by the technique of woodblock printing featuring motifs of landscapes, tales from history, kabuki actors and pleasure quarters. This form of printing was used to produce small and cheap art prints as well as books. 

Woodblock print, (1760-1849)
The Great Wave off Kanagwa by Katsushika Hokusa 

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