western cultures are usually obsessed with japanese things, particularly food, cars, and technological gadgets. however, japanese art forms are in most cases overlooked or flat out ignored, except perhaps for origami, which became popular a few years ago. we recently came across a technique that became widely used in the 17th and 18th centuries, called moku hanga, which translates to woodblock printing. this technique had various sub-genres, the most famous of which was the ukiyo-e, or pictures of the floating world.
mostly, artists which engaged in the technique are very difficult to track, particularly because most of them adopted pseudonyms according to the school they belonged to; and in some cases apprentices would acquire the pseudonym of their masters once these had passed away. this approach, gives the impression that artists were more interested in spreading their art organically, without the need for big sums of money or fame. however, there are a few woodblock painters who became more renowned and thus highly profitable, such is the case of hiroshige and kunisada.
below you can find a selection of some our other favorite ukiyo-e prints. for more info regarding this wonderful genre of japanese art, its history, and some of its main artists, check out this wikipedia entry.