Saturday, January 10, 2009

A little history on Ukiyo-e, skidone perspective

Here's a brief history on Japanese Tattoo Art as it is taken from Ukiyo-e art, the influence is such a big part of my art. The clean black line and subtle fills, combigned with emotion, and textured colors, as well as the addition of poetry and story, allows my skill set to come about at its utmost within the canvas.
For more information about Mark Richmond's Japanese Tattoo style / Ukiyo-e style art visit


Brief History of the Japanese Tattoo
As the power of the common people and working classes of Japan grew in the latter half of the Edo period (circa 18th century) horimono, or traditional Japanese tattoos, began to flourish as art form. Using images from traditional water colour paintings, woodcuts and picture books of the time as designs, the ultimate reward for the patience and endurance of pain would be a tattoo of immense beauty. To experience and enjoy Japanese horimono tattoos it is important to understand their history and background, and it is also important to continue to preserve the traditions behind them.
The origins of traditional Japanese tattoos can be traced back to the latter years of the Edo period in Japanese history.In 1603, the then ruler of Japan, Tokugawa Ieyasu, centralised his shogunate government in Edo, what is now Tokyo. In the 200 years following this, the established feudal system began to stagnate, and in opposition to the martial upper classes, the common people of Edo began to develop their own separate, unique culture for themselves.
Rejecting the centuries-old strict ethics and morality of the Confucian beliefs of the samurai and taking up themes based on duty, ninjo (human experiences and feeling), fashion and comedy the townspeople of Edo increasingly began to enjoy novels, drama, comic tanka songs and theatre. Books such as kokusenyagassen by Chikamatsu Monzaemon, Honchohsuikohden and Satomihakkenden by Takisawa Bakin and many other publications, along with picture books and artwork all combined to develop into a system that became a massive outlet of cultural expression for the ordinary people of Edo.

Shimada Kunihiro, Japan Tattoo InstituteTranslated by Adam Guy

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