Japanese Woodblock Print

Connect: works in Bradford´s collections

Connect is a display of Cartwright Hall's collections based around the themes of People, Place and Imagination. It illustrates how powerful connections in art can cut across cultures and different time frames.

The following works make interesting comparisons to the Japanese Woodblock print and could be the basis for discussion, sketchbook work and practical work.


Printing Block

Rajasthan 20th Century

Purchased 1993

This printing block is carved in relief, in the same way as the blocks for a Japanese woodblock print. In this case the impact of this image, printed in a repeat pattern, would be extremely dramatic. It shows a pair of large lashed eyes, and the size of the block coupled with the unusual motif suggests that the finished printed textiles would be used for a ritual of some kind.



Indian film poster

Screen Print on paper 1971

Japanese woodblock prints were produced in large quantities, and sometimes served as advertisements for theatre productions - compare them to this modern cinema poster. The Indian film industry is the largest in the world today. 

A film poster has to communicate in seconds the whole film experience: not only the story, but also the way the film will make you feel. Film posters, particularly those from the 40s to the 70s, are now collector’s items. Not only have they whetted the appetites of generations of film fans, but they have also inspired trends in contemporary Indian art. The acclaimed Indian artist M F Hussain, for instance, was a film artist, transferring the posters onto enormous painted hoardings.


Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882)

'The Sacrifice of Isaac'

Stained Glass window  made for the east window of Holy Trinity Church, Bingley by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co, 1872

Compare the violent emotions shown in the Japanese print with those evoked in this scene. The story of the birth of Isaac to the elderly couple Abraham and Sarah is told in the Old Testament. Isaac is much loved by his parents, but when God decides to test Abraham’s faith by asking him to sacrifice his only son, Abraham does not hesitate. Isaac is about to be put to death when an angel dramatically appears and grasps the knife. Abraham passes the test and Isaac is spared.

See where Cartwright Hall Art Gallery is in Bradford.»

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