Artists by Movement: Ukiyo-e - Images from the Floating World
Japan, Edo Period (1600s to 1867)
Ukiyo-e (pronounced oo-kee-oh-ay) was a popular form of printed art in Japan during the Edo period, inexpensive and usually depicting scenes from everyday life.
Ukiyo translates as "the floating world" - an ironic wordplay on the Buddhist name for the earthly plane, "the sorrowful world". Ukiyo was the name given to the lifestyle in Japan's urban centers of this period - the fashions, the entertainments, and the pleasures of the flesh. Ukiyo-e is the art documenting this era.
Ukiyo-e is especially known for its exceptional woodblock prints. After Japan opened trade with the West after 1867, these prints became very well-known and influential in Europea, especially in France. Japonisme influenced such artists as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Whistler and the graphic artists known as Les Nabis.