While the Christmas festivities have indeed subsided, I have no intention of wistfully yearning for it to return… every day of life is worthy of celebration! Anyway, this is an Official Postcrossing card I received from Japan! It took me probably 30 minutes of using the online Kanji writer to figure out more about this work here. What you see is a woodblock print art piece by printmaker Shufu Miyamoto. Many of you are probably familiar with the popular Japanese visual art known as ukiyo-e – this is a form of woodblock printing. Japanese woodblock printing uses a number of wood slabs, a piece of washi (durable paper), and coloring agents. Before anything, the woodblocks need to be carved out in a way similar to how a rubber stamp would be made, since this is what the pigment gets rubbed onto before it ends up on the paper. The paper then gets thoroughly pressed onto the woodblock to apply the pigment in the desired pattern. Multiple carvings are used to apply different elements of the painting, such as outlining, color filling, shading, and gradation (changing hues or shades of colors). So think about it – every single color in this painting has its own carving! Miyamoto is known for using a certain style called “kobashi” which is a type of gradation that is applied by hand rather than by the carving, though the other elements of the painting will still be done traditionally. I had a bit of trouble finding the title of this work, but I think it is called “Yugen no Sha”, though I’m not sure of the meaning. I watched a video on Youtube about woodblock printing and it is FASCINATING! Also I’m floored at how well the printmaker always lines the paper up perfectly with the woodblock – a lapse of a millimeter could mess up the painting. And to think, sometimes I can’t even line up a stamp on the corner of postcard. Thank you so much for sharing this awesome card with me!
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