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Japanese colour woodcuts by Kitagawa Utamaro

These stunning woodcuts from 18th and 19th century Japan are a beautiful testament of everyday life during that time. Housed online in the NYPL Digital Gallery, the series was made in the Ukiyo-e school, which means ‘pictures of the floating world’ in English. The series depicts characters from all walks of life. Everything from celebrities, sumo wrestlers, farmers, actors, and even tourists all end up on paper in this series of beautifully idealized portraits.

The Floating World: Japanese Color Woodcuts by Kitagawa Utamaro
The Floating World: Japanese Color Woodcuts by Kitagawa Utamaro
The Floating World: Japanese Color Woodcuts by Kitagawa Utamaro
The Floating World: Japanese Color Woodcuts by Kitagawa Utamaro
The Floating World: Japanese Color Woodcuts by Kitagawa Utamaro
The Floating World: Japanese Color Woodcuts by Kitagawa Utamaro
The Floating World: Japanese Color Woodcuts by Kitagawa Utamaro

About the author

Annie is a graphic design ace who has designed and manufactured handmade jeans, tried her hand as a barber, and even masqueraded as a concert level pianist. Don’t be shy. Say hello!

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