Ukiyo-e meaning “picture of the floating world” is a form of Japanese art which uses woodblock printing. I think it is amazing how the monochromatic woodblock printing technique used for the Diamond Sutra evolved into this polychromatic version. One of the most popular Ukiyo-e works is The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai that was shown in the lecture.
I really like the artwork but I’m also interested in knowing more about another work in the lecture, One Hundred Famous Views of Edo by Ando Hiroshige. The work is split into four parts — Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. It depicts different sceneries of Edo (also known as Tokyo now). I realized after doing some research that there isn’t any meaning behind the work… it is just a depiction of scenes.
I like that this series of work tells us how Tokyo looked like at that time and the daily lives of people of that period. Although the colours are mostly flat, they tried to express depth by varying the shades of colours. I also like the colour gradients in the background of the works. Overall, I think it is impressive how they managed to achieve this using woodblock printing.