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Yoshitoshi
an online exhibition

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Glossary

aiban  print format measuring 340 x 220 mm.

aratame  censor's approval seal appearing on prints from 1848.

atenashi bokashi  'shading without definition' - achieved by mixing water and pigment on the surface of the block with a brush before printing.

bakufu  military government of the Shôgun in Edo.

baren  circular bamboo pad used to apply pressure during printing.

beni  rose-red organic pigment made from safflowers.

Beni-e  hand-coloured prints using beni.

benizuri-e  'printed beni' - prints from two or three colour-blocks.

bijin-ga  prints of beautiful women.

bokashi  technique of grading pigment on a block by hand-wiping.

bunraku  later name for jôruri puppet theatre.

chônin  townspeople.

chûban  print format measuring 290 x 220 mm.

chûnori  effect of flying in Kabuki

daimyô  feudal lords.

diptych  print made up of two sheets printed separately.

Edo  name of the capital city in the Edo period, later renamed Tokyo.

Edo period  1603-1868; period of Tokugawa rule.

egoyomi  pictorial calendar prints.

ehon banzuke  illustrated Kabuki programme book

ga  picture; drawn by

gakô  preliminary, rough sketch for an ukiyo-e design.

geisha  'accomplished person' - skilled hired entertainers (not prostitutes).

Genji-e  'Genji pictures' - category of pictures on the theme of the Ryutei Tanehiko's Nise murasaki inaka genji (False Murasaki and a rural Genji), an updating of the classic Heian period classic Genji monagatari (The Tale of Genji), published in 1829-42.

Genjimon  symbols identifying particular chapters in Genji monagatari (The Tale of Genji).

gofun  pigment made of calcium carbonate powder usually obtained by heating and pulverizing the shells of oysters and clams.

haikai  playful linked verse (renga).

hanshita-e  'block copy picture' - final outline drawing for woodblock print.

hashira-e  pillar print.

hayagawari  quick-change technique in Kabuki

Heian period   794-1186; Heian was the early name for Kyoto.

hitsu  'brush of'.

hokku  seventeen-syllable verse in haikai (later called haiku).

hôsho  highest quality thick kôzo paper.

hosoban  print format measuring 330 x 150 mm.

itame mokuhan 'imitation woodgrain' - achieved by soaking a densely grained woodblock to emphasize the pattern of the grain.

jorô  lower class prostitute

Kabuki  popular drama.

kakemono-e  hanging-scroll print.

Kamakura period  1186-1336; period when the court was situated in Kamakura.

kamuro  child-attendants of oiran.

Kanô  traditional school of Chinese-style ink painting.

karazuri  'empty printing' - blind embossing achieved by 'printing' uninked block.

kentô  registration mark used to align the blocks.

keren  special stage effects in Kabuki.

kibyôshi  'yellow covers' - comic illustrated novelettes.

kimedashi  technique of embossing lines around forms using uninked concave blocks.

kira  mica - silvery iridescent pigment.

kirazuri  printing with mica

kiwame  censor's approval seal appearing on prints.

komusô  mendicant monks belonging to a branch of Zen Buddhism.

kyôka  'crazy verse' of 31 syllables usually parodying classical forms.

Maruyama  realist style of painting named after Maruyama Ôkyo (1733-95).

Meiji period  1868-1912.

michiyuki  'poetic journey' scene in Kabuki.

mitate  'likened' - parody.

mon  family crest; small denomination of currency.

Muromachi period  1392-1573.

Nanga  'southern painting' - literati painting based on Chinese models.

nikawa  animal collagen glue usually made from deer horns and hide.

nishiki-e  'brocade-picture' - multicolour prints from five or more colour-blocks.

Noh ()   classical masked drama; official samurai entertainment in Edo period.

nunomezuri   'textile printing' - embossing from textile pasted to surface of woodblock.

ôban print format measuring 390 x 265 mm.

oiran  high-ranking courtesan.

ôkubi-e 'large-head' picture - bust of half-length portrait.

onnagata male actor specialising in female roles.

renga  linked verse.

rônin  masterless samurai.

ryô  large gold coin, the largest monetary unit.

sake  rice wine.

samurai  'one who serves' - elite military retainers to daimyô.

sankin kôtai policy of 'alternate attendance' in Edo for daimyô.

sen  unit of currency - one hundredth of a yen; in 1877 a maidservant earned 3 sen a day, a carpenter 25 sen a day, a cheap pair of shoes cost 5 sen, an ordinary impression of a woodblock print cost 2 sen.

senryû  comic hokku.

shamisen  long-necked instrument with three strings.

Shijô  style/school of painting combining elements of Maruyama and Nanga.

Shintô  'way of the gods' - native pantheistic religion of Japan.

shinzô apprentice courtesan.

Shôgun  military dictators of Japan from 1185 to 1868.

shômenzuri  'front printing' - burnishing with a block design carved in reverse.
shunga   'spring pictures' - erotica.

sumi  black ink made from soot and bound in nikawa.

sumizuri-e  'printed sumi picture' - early monochrome prints.

surimono  'printed thing' - privately-commissioned prints for special occasions.

tachiyaku male lead actor in Kabuki

Tokugawa  family of hereditary Shôgun of Edo period.

torii  symbolic gateway to Shintô shrine.

Tosa  traditional school of Japanese-style painting.

triptych  print made up of three sheets printed separately.

tsuyazumi  gloss black achieved by burnishing the printed surface.

uchiwa  round, non-folding fan.

uki-e  'floating view' - prints imitating European system of perspective.

ukiyo  floating world.

ukiyo-e  'picture(s) of the floating world'; the name given to the school of artists making this sort of picture (which included popular woodblock prints).

ukiyo-zôshi stories of the floating world.

urushi-e 'lacquer picture' - named after the glossy effect of adding nikawa to the pigment.

yamabushi  itinerant mountain priests.

yen 'round' - unit of currency introduced in 1871.

yokobue  a transverse flute.

Yoshiwara  licensed brothel quarter (yûkaku) in Edo.

Zen  sect of Buddhism in Japan emphasising meditation.