Ukiyo is a type of wood block painting and printing in Japan which was produced between the seventeenth and the twentieth centuries. They mainly featured landscapes motifs, historical tales, the theatre and quarters used for pleasures. Mainly, it was the artistic type of woodblock print which was found in Japan.
Ukiyo, a word which is translated to “the floating world” in English refers to the birth of an transitory world, non permanent, short-lived beauties and a land of entertainments divorced from the tasks of the routine, everyday humanity; “pictures of the floating world”, that is to say that ukiyo-e, are considered to be a kind unto themselves.
The skill form rose to vast popularity in the urban culture of during the 2nd half of the seventeenth century which originated with the one-color mechanism in the 1670s. First, onlyIndia ink was used before some prints were colored manually using a brush. However, in the eighteenth century a technique was developed involving polychrome prints.
Ukiyo-e was inexpensive because they could be produced in large numbers. They were meant for townsmen generally not too wealthy to afford a new painting. The innovative topic of ukiyo-e was city living, in specific actions and scenes from leisure district. Good-looking courtesans, huge wrestlers and accepted actors who could be revealed while engaged in interesting activities. Later on landscapes and scenes also became popular. Politically based topics, and persons greater than the lowest stratum of the society were unsanctioned in the prints which appeared very rarely. Sex was not used as a permit topic either; however, it appeared continually in ukiyo-e prints. Sometimes, publishers and artists were punished for developing sexually explicit shunga.