Terms associated with Japanese Woodblock Prints
Ukiyo - originally a Buddhist phrase meaning 'the floating world' used to explain that human life passed quickly, the word later became used to describe the pleasures of life.
Ukiyo-e - 'pictures of the floating world'. The suffix '-e' means pictures, and ukiyo-e was the word used to describe art produced in Japan in the period from the 16th to the 19th century.
Shita-e - ink line drawing, a preparatory design sketch produced by the artist at the first stage of producing a woodblock print.
Horishi - the carver who pastes the drawing onto a wooden block and carves away all surplus wood, leaving only the outlines from the drawing, raised on the surface of the block.
Iroita - colour blocks. A separate block must be carved for each different colour.
Sakura - cherry wood, a hard wood with straight grain which is well-suited to the demands of intricate carving and repeated printing.
Surishi - the printer who applies colour to the blocks, using a brush. Moistened paper is then placed on the block.
Kôzo - mulberry, the plant fibres from which paper was made for Ukiyo-e prints. This paper is absorbent and strong.
Baren - the circular rubbing pad used to transfer colour onto the paper from the printing block - the printer rubs the back of the paper to make sure paper absorbs the pigment.