Urushibara Mokuchu

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Yoshijiro (Mokuchu) Urushibara
Urushibara Mokuchu.jpg
Born 1888
Died 1953
Nationality Japanese
Occupation Printmaker
Known for Horses

Urushibara Mokuchu (漆原木虫) (1888–1953), given name Yoshijirô, was a Japanese print maker known for his many black-and-white prints of horses. He lived in Europe for many years, and exhibited in the United States after World War II.


Urushibara Yoshijirô was born in Tokyo in 1888 and studied mokuhan as a young man. In 1908, aged nineteen, he travelled to London,[1] where he was among a group of woodblock print craftsmen who demonstrated printing techniques at the Anglo-Japanese Exhibition of 1910. He remained in London after the exhibition, restoring prints, making reproductions of prints, and mounting scrolls at the British Museum.[2] In 1912, the British Museum employed Urushibara to make accurate copies of a famous Chinese scroll painting by Gu Kaizhi (c. 344-406 AD), the Admonitions Scroll.[3]

After the museum job, Urushibara worked independently, collaborating with English and French designers on prints—notably with Frank Brangwyn.[2] He carved and printed many prints from Frank Brangwyn's designs of horses, landscapes, and flowers.[1] In a portfolio called "Bruges" (1919) he reproduced several of Brangwyn's watercolours as large woodblock prints. In 1924 he again collaborated with Brangwyn in the portfolio Ten Woodcuts by Yoshijirô Urushibara after Designs by Frank Brangwyn.[3]

Urushibara was influential in the English revival of colour woodblock printing in the 1920s and 1930s.[3] At first he carved and printed to other artists' designs, but later printed many of his own designs. He took up the 'art name' of Mokuchu (木虫), which appears on some of his print seals.[2]

The American artist Andrew Kay Womrath studied printmaking under Urushibara, and Urushibara bought several of Womrath's creations.[4] Later Urushibara donated some of these works to the British Museum.[5][6] Urushibara returned to Japan in 1934. After 1945 he exhibited in the United States[1]


  1. ^ a b c Helen Merritt, Nanako Yamada (1995). Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: 1900-1975. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 082481732X. 
  2. ^ a b c "Introduction to Yoshijiro (Mokuchu) Urushibara". Woodblock.com. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  3. ^ a b c "URUSHIBARA Mokuchû (1888-1953)". Viewing Japanese Prints. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  4. ^ "Andrew Kay Womrath (1869-1939)". Clive Christy. 12 April 2010. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  5. ^ "Vase with white flower and leaves. c.1884-1937". British Museum. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  6. ^ "Village scene in Brittany". British Museum. Retrieved 2012-05-11.