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Japanese Prints

Japanese prints, particularly Japanese woodblock prints, have been highly coveted works of art since their creation. They are beloved for their use of the whole spectrum of colors and extraordinary detail on paper made from the inner wood of a mulberry tree.

The creation of Japanese woodblock prints is intriguing in that it requires four people. One artist renders the design of the image, one engraver carves the image into wood, a printer uses the woodblocks to stamp each individual color to compose the image, and a publisher oversees the initial idea of the image and then markets it. While a print may have its own individual differences, once an image is carved into a woodblock, it can be printed thousands of times.

Many painters found inspiration in the innovative stylization and use of space within Japanese prints. They exhibited significant influence in Western Impressionist and Modern art.


Quick Facts

  • Despite the level of skill of all members of the printmaking process, it is usually only the publisher’s name that appears on the print
  • Each color of a Japanese print needs to be carved on a different block of wood. This process of carving and stamping the image with exact precision requires tremendous skill, time, and patience
  • Japanese prints have not always been coveted collector’s items. They were once commonplace items and often overlooked; Impressionist painter Claude Monet, for example, first encountered a Japanese print when it was being used as wrapping paper

Recommended Items at Auction

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1993 JAPANESE FLOWERS SILKSCREEN BY YAYOI KUSAMA
Mar 16, 10:00 AM EDT
1993 JAPANESE FLOWERS SILKSCREEN BY YAYOI KUSAMA
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$804 Bids
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Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797-1858) Woodblock Print, Ishiyakushi
Mar 14, 2:00 PM EDT
Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797-1858) Woodblock Print, Ishiyakushi
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $50- $200
$304 Bids
KUNICHIKA TOYOHARA (1835-1900) & CHIKANOBU YOSHU (1838-1912): JAPANESE EMPERORS AND MEMBERS OF MEIJI PARLIMENT
Mar 05, 10:30 AM GMT
KUNICHIKA TOYOHARA (1835-1900) & CHIKANOBU YOSHU (1838-1912): JAPANESE EMPERORS AND MEMBERS OF MEIJI PARLIMENT
by John Nicholson's Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: £100- £150
£902 Bids
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Hiroshige II (Japanese, 1826-1869) Woodblock Print, Nezu
Mar 14, 2:00 PM EDT
Hiroshige II (Japanese, 1826-1869) Woodblock Print, Nezu
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $50- $200
$202 Bids
Kikuo Saito, Untitled (Three works)
Mar 06, 10:00 AM EST
Kikuo Saito, Untitled (Three works)
by Rago Arts and Auction Center
Est: $800- $1,200
$4502 Bids
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Hiroshige II (Japanese) Woodblock Print, Mt. Tsukuba
Mar 14, 2:00 PM EDT
Hiroshige II (Japanese) Woodblock Print, Mt. Tsukuba
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $50- $200
$152 Bids
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Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797-1858) Woodblock Print, Odawara
Mar 14, 2:00 PM EDT
Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797-1858) Woodblock Print, Odawara
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $50- $200
$252 Bids
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Hiroshige Woodblock Print, Autumn Moon on the Tama River
Mar 14, 2:00 PM EDT
Hiroshige Woodblock Print, Autumn Moon on the Tama River
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $50- $200
$152 Bids
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Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797-1858) Woodblock Print, Odawara
Mar 14, 2:00 PM EDT
Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797-1858) Woodblock Print, Odawara
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $50- $200
$101 Bid
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Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797-1858) Woodblock Print, Shono
Mar 14, 2:00 PM EDT
Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797-1858) Woodblock Print, Shono
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $50- $200
$101 Bid
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Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797-1858) Woodblock Print, Totsuka
Mar 14, 2:00 PM EDT
Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797-1858) Woodblock Print, Totsuka
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $50- $200
$101 Bid
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Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797-1858) Woodblock Print, Yoshida
Mar 14, 2:00 PM EDT
Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797-1858) Woodblock Print, Yoshida
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $50- $200
$101 Bid
Japanese School, Erotic Woodblock
Mar 05, 12:00 PM EST
Japanese School, Erotic Woodblock
by Old Kinderhook Auction Company
Est: $50- $100
$301 Bid
KUNICHIKA TOYOHARA (1835-1900) & CHIKANOBU YOSHU (1838-1912): KABUKI THEATRE PLAY; two late 19th century origi
Mar 05, 10:30 AM GMT
KUNICHIKA TOYOHARA (1835-1900) & CHIKANOBU YOSHU (1838-1912): KABUKI THEATRE PLAY; two late 19th century origi
by John Nicholson's Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: £70- £80
£601 Bid
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Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797-1858) Woodblock Print, Yui
Mar 14, 2:00 PM EDT
Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797-1858) Woodblock Print, Yui
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $50- $200
$101 Bid
Katsutoshi Yuasa, Japanese b.1978- - I Will Be Forever With You 1; 
Mar 05, 10:00 AM GMT
Katsutoshi Yuasa, Japanese b.1978- - I Will Be Forever With You 1; 
by Roseberys
Est: £400- £500
£2801 Bid
Katsutoshi Yuasa, Japanese b.1978- - I Will Be With You Forever 2; 
Mar 05, 10:00 AM GMT
Katsutoshi Yuasa, Japanese b.1978- - I Will Be With You Forever 2; 
by Roseberys
Est: £400- £500
£2801 Bid
Nobukazu Woodblock Print Women Enjoying the Cool of the Evening
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
Nobukazu Woodblock Print Women Enjoying the Cool of the Evening
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$501 Bid
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(2) Shiro Kasamatsu Prints (Japan, 1898-1991).
Mar 10, 10:00 AM EST
(2) Shiro Kasamatsu Prints (Japan, 1898-1991).
by Clarke Auction Gallery
Est: $400- $600
$2001 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Japanese Prints


Lion and Unicorn

Lion and Unicorn

Armstrong Fine Art

Armstrong Fine Art

Tate Ward Auctions

Tate Ward Auctions

Weatherham Estate Treasures

Weatherham Estate Treasures