Transfering designs from inked carvings on wooden blocks to paper medium is believed to be the world’s oldest form of printing.
All the Japanese woodblock prints available on this site are entirely hand-crafted – each one the work of four different experts working together: artist, engraver, printer, and publisher:
Firstly, the designs were created by the artist on paper before being transferred on to thinner translucent paper.
This thinner paper was then pasted on to blocks of mountain cherry tree wood whose dense grain structure allows very fine details to be carved by the engraver tracing over the pattern.
Several wood blocks, sometimes up to twenty were carved, one for each of the different colours in the final print.
The printer then mixed the inks and painted the blocks, often in carefully graduated ‘bokashi’ style before precisely overlaying thick, absorbent washi paper made from mulberry tree bark and rubbing it with a round pad.
Finally, the publisher managed the warehousing and distribution of the finished prints.
The result of this entirely hand-crafted process are exquisitely beautiful, unique pictures that can provide great enjoyment for many years.