While the history of woodblock prints in Japan dates back to about 1,200 years ago, Edo woodblock prints were developed after the Edo period (1603-1868). That was largely a result of the success of Ukiyo-e painters such as Kitagawa Utamaro, Katsushika Hokusai, and Utagawa Hiroshige.
Edo woodblock prints are created by three professionals: a painter who draws the design, a woodcarver who engraves the design on the surfaces of wooden blocks, and a printer who prints the design on washi paper. Early prints were used only black ink and brush coloring was gradually been adopted. Following two-color and three-color printing techniques, a multi-color printing technique was established. After gorgeously colorful Ukiyo-e paints called Nishiki-e were invented, these paints became very popular among ordinal people in Edo.
Nowadays, artisans who have inherited these techniques produce woodblock prints by using traditional Ukiyo-e and original motifs.
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