Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery

Ukiyo-e: Japanese Prints of the Floating World

Further Information

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Gallery opening Hours

Tuesday - Saturday 11am - 5pm.

Image of Japanese woodblock artwork

Japanese woodblock prints from the Ronald and Catherine Berndt Collection.

The techniques of Japanese woodblock printing, moku hanga, is identified most closely with the genre of art Ukiyo-e, commonly translated as 'pictures of the floating world'.

This was adopted from the Chinese book printing techniques during the Edo period (1603 - 1867) and developed into a distinctive art form, using water-based inks to provide a wide range of vivid colours possessing extraordinary transparency.

Featured work: Woodblock print, Japan, 35.3 x 23.4 cm. RM & CH Berndt Collection [WU8767]

Exhibition duration

8 February - 28 June 2014

Exhibition details

Despite early seventeenth century experiments with the use of movable wooden type to produce books, craftsmen preferred engraved woodblocks for book production of small cheap art prints for a mass market. Now known as Saga books, after the town in which they were created, these classic tales became particularly well known. Ronald and Catherine Berndt collected many such Ukiyo-e together.

Drawn not only from the classical sagas of Japan, the Ukiyo-e depicted a contemporary world of people in their landscape and their society.

Education kit

Download the Education Kit featuring suggested activities for the school or home. A PDF reader such as Adobe Reader (available as a free download) is required to open PDF files.

Exhibition partner

The Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, based at the University of Western Australia invites various schools and faculties to partner with on exhibitions and develop innovative academic and public programs. The Campus Partner for this exhibition is Asian Studies, School of Social Sciences, at the Faculty of Arts, UWA.


Front cover of the book Ukiyo-e which is the accompanying title to the exhibition

The accompanying title to the exhibition, this publication features an essay by curator John Stanton and a full list of works including images from the exhibition.

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Last updated:
Friday, 25 July, 2014 11:23 AM