Featured Object: Woodblock Print: Ukiyo-e A Tea Party by Toyokuni II
- Post Date3/3/2017
- Reading Time1 minute read
These three colorful images form the woodblock print "A Tea Party" by Japanese woodblock artist Toyokuni II (Toyoshige) who worked in the early nineteenth century. This type of print is known as "Ukiyo-e", translated as "pictures of the floating world." Woodblock prints were very popular in Japan during the Edo period (1603–1867), reflecting growth of Japanese cities like Edo (modern Tokyo), Osaka, and Kyoto and the resulting demand for mass-produced art works by the wealthy, but politically powerless, merchant class.
The woodblock prints of this period portray urban people and places of pleasure that would have been familiar and attractive to the merchants, who used art as a means to finding equal status with the powerful shogun class. This print set shows two women dressed in colorful kimono and a male patron at a teahouse. Geisha and actors were also popular figures.