Topeka
Topeka

Clear Water: Encountering Mokuhanga

Mokuhanga translated simply means “woodblock print.” This Japanese
printmaking technique was popularized during the Edo period (1603–
1868). The works are created through a series of hand carved wood blocks,
traditionally cherry or magnolia, that are hand printed layer by layer with
water-based pigment onto handmade paper. They were traditionally
created through a collaborative process between artists, carvers, printers,
and publishers. Though many contemporary mokuhanga artists carry out
every step of the process, there are still artists and artisans that work in the
traditional collaborative process.
Clear Water is taken from a haiku written by Fukuda Chiyo-ni, a Japanese
poet and Buddhist nun who lived during the Edo period:
clear water:
no front
no back
The poem exemplifies the nature of the works in the exhibition, and the
history, process, and technique of Japanese woodblock printmaking. The
traditions, culture, and ecology of Japan have a significant relationship with
and around water which is exemplified by the printmaking process. From the
growing of trees for blocks, to the making and soaking of paper, to the mixing
of pigments, to depictions of seascapes and crashing waves, water permeates
every aspect of mokuhanga.

Clear Water: Encountering Mokuhanga