Ukiyo-e, pictures from the floating world

Ukiyo-e, literally “the pictures from the Floating Wolrd”, is an expression of Japanese Art representing that famous and so mysterious world made of hedonistic lifestyles; the art of Ukiyo-e is first seen in the Edo Period (that goes from 1600 to 1868 under the rule of Emperor Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu), considered one of the most important era beside the Meiji Period (straight from 1868 to 1912 when Japan rose to a world potence with the biggest modernization under the rule of Emperor Meiji the Great – Meiji means Enlightened Rule).
Those images are best known for their fine colors and detailed representations of life in last century Japan. The colors, as you may notice, are mostly in their opposite: red and yellow, white and blue, black and green.

So often you see Ukiyo-e all over the internet, pictures and notes and more, but too often its explanation is quick and not all people know about the real means of those arts, much more labeled as “old Japanese arts or prints”.

Kikugawa Eizan

Kikugawa Eizan (1787 – 1867)
available at
During a banquet. A geisha in a yellow kimono is sitting in a large room, playing a finger game (ken), imitating the pose of a fox. In the background, two more geishas are seen, – one performing a dance -, as silhouettes on the shoji (sliding wall panels made of paper).

Utagawa Kunisada
Utagawa Kunisada (1786 – 1864)
available at
A courtesan is seen by the barred window of her room late at night waiting for customers.

When talking about the Floating World people do think about Geisha and Maiko times, and that’s also true but the mystic world of Geisha has another kind of iter. In this Edo Period many prints represents courtesans or geishas or simple women in the teahouses, streets, kabuki theathers.

It is a fascinating world, with fascinating prints.

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