Ukiyo-e was the J-Pop boom of the 19th century. Of course, it was many other things before the West got around to "discovering" it, as you'll see when you read through this artistic genre's 200+ years of history. Thanks in advance to the image reviewer, as there are about sixty images to go through—and I'm wide open to suggestions for replacement or addition. Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 05:20, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
Generally excellent, and very welcome. I wish say Indian art had as many strong articles as Japanese. I've commented on it at various times over the years, and during Curly's epic expansion. A few cavils:
"the nativist Yamato-e tradition, which focused on Japanese themes painted in soft colours and contours" - the bit I've italicized raised the eyebrows. I don't think it's a very useful way to distinguish Yamato-e from Chinese styles, and often just not true. The colours of very old works have often faded, but that is a different matter. Soft colours and blurred contours are arguably just as characteristic of the Chinese styles, when they use colour at all.
Hmmm..."soft colours and contours" wasn't really meant as a contrast with the Chinese styles—rather simply as characteristics of the Yamato-e style—but I guess it comes across that way the way I wrote it. And I guess I failed completely in conveying the diversity of Chinese-inspired styles. Let me think of a rewording. Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 22:56, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
Do you think "Chinese-inspired ones of a variety of styles" is sufficient? Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 23:54, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
That's ok, but I really can't see "soft colours and contours" as a useful characterizion of Yamato-e. It often shows selective colouring and views obscured by the mist or revealed by cut-away, but "soft" doesn't work for me. There are often strong colour highlights that Chinese artists would think inharmonious. Johnbod (talk) 00:36, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
I botched summarizing the source: "gorgeous coloring and softness of contour". Would "rich" or "lavish colours" and "soft contours" work? Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 01:27, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
Makes more sense, though personally I'm still dubious about "soft contours". Just quote it? Johnbod (talk) 21:54, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
Reading around (such as here), it looks like both styles went through more evolution than can really be neatly summed up here. How about: "the nativist Yamato-e tradition, focusing on Japanese themes, best known by the works of the Tosa school; and Chinese-inspired kara-e in a variety of styles, such as the monochromatic ink wash painting of Sesshū Tōyō and his disciples"? Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 00:29, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
Fine with that. Johnbod (talk) 00:04, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
"Until the 16th century, the lives of the common people had not been subject to the painters, and even when they were included,..." and the picture caption "is one of the earliest Japanese paintings to feature the lives of the common people.". In the first the phrasing is odd - was it meant to be "the lives of the common people had not been a subject for painters" which is better, though "a main subject" would be better, as works like the 12th-century Shigisan-engi are famous precisely for showing "the lives of the common people", but serving a Buddhist narrative story. Compared to other major traditions, Japanese painting was rather strong on "the lives of the common people" well before this date, but not as a subject in itself. This distinction should be made.
"Moronobu was the first of the book illustrators to achieve such prominence that, by 1672, he could sign his name to his work" - bit oddly phrased. Presumably he did so because it brought marketing advantage, but nothing was stopping any artist from doing so, I'd imagine.
I'll have to grab the book from the library, but I think it had something to do with Moronobu's superiors granting him the right to sign his work. Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 12:25, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
Ok, that would make sense in European terms under the guild system too. Maybe fill it out a bit to avoid the question. Johnbod (talk) 21:57, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
Nope, I was wrong—it reads: "In 1672, with the publication of The Samurai Hundred-poem Collection (Buke hyakunin isshu), he became the first Edo illustrator to achieve such prominence as to be able to sign his own work." I've reworded. Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 22:52, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
"Early ukiyo-e masters" mini-gallery is a mix of paintings & prints. Clarify which is which.
One thing about this: "artist who worked under the name" could be applied to pretty much every one of the artists, as using an art name was standard, and it was common for artists to change their art names—Hokusai used about a hundred different art names. Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 11:56, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, and it would be worth mentioning that before this point. Johnbod (talk) 13:05, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
More later. I can see my main issue is going to be one I think I've raised before - the paucity of information on the social and economic context for the buyers especially. How expensive were they? "prices affordable to prosperous townspeople" are mentioned, but that's pretty vague. How were they collected and displayed? Were they hung up on walls, or kept in albums, or both? Did enthusiasts have huge collections? Was there a critical literature while the tradition existed? Did other artists or critics look down on them? Was there a 2nd-hand trade? Were there collector's marks? Did you make a lot of money as an artist? Were the more erotic subjects regarded as suitable for public/mixed-gender display? Johnbod (talk) 11:35, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
I've added a bit on this last one, and am hunting down some more. As for the "critical literature", that's a definite no—there was almost no literature at all, and what there was came late—the most significant being the Ukiyo-e Ruikō collection of artist histories, which first appeared in 1790 and was never printed under the modern era, copied by hand and modified extensively copy to copy. It has never be translated into English, but it gets mentioned here and there. I'll find a good source on it and add something. Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 20:34, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
I think I've dealt with the "critical literature", pricing, and acceptability of shunga issues. I'm still hunting down collecting habits and incomes; I've found a source that emphasizes the changing economic conditions throughout the era had an effect on the ways ukiyo-e were produced, but it's not very specific, so I'm going to keep hunting for more on that. Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 00:49, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks! I see what you mean. On a quick prowl through JSTOR there is a ton on early Western collectors, but little on Japanese ones. Can you see "Hokusai's Illustrations for the "100 Poems"", Roger Keyes and Hokusai, Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, Vol. 10, The Art Institute of Chicago Centennial Lectures (1983), pp. 310-329, Published by: The Art Institute of Chicago, Article DOI: 10.2307/4104343, Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4104343. First few pages cover the economic crisis of the 1830s which I've read about elsewhere, and probably deserves mention. Also: "The Prints of Isoda Koryūsai: Floating World Culture and Its Consumers in Eighteenth-Century Japan" by Allen Hockley, Review by: Christine M. E. Guth, Artibus Asiae, Vol. 64, No. 1 (2004), pp. 125-127, Published by: Artibus Asiae Publishers, Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3250160 - suggests that would be a good book on this. supposedly there is "a revolution in ukiyo-e studies" going on (or was in 2004), bringing this stuff more to the fore. Also: "The Commercial and Cultural Climate of Japanese Printmaking" by Amy Reigle Newland, Review by: Lawrence E. Marceau, Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Summer, 2006), pp. 494-498, Published by: The Society for Japanese Studies, Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25064670 - conference papers. This suggests the key books then were Chibbett 1997 The history of Japanese printing and book illustration (Kodansha) and Hillier 1987 "The Art of the Japanese book" (Sotheby's). I can supply PDF's if needed. Johnbod (talk) 11:35, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
I actually added Hockley's book just today. I don't currently have JSTOR access---I'd love to get any of those PDFs. There definitely seems to be a lot more activity in ukiyo-e scholarship in the last decade, but I haven't come across anything summing it up and contextualizing it. Most of it seems too domain-specific for the general ukiyo-e article (like, say, a book analyzing Harunobu's mitate-e that I was browsing through at the library the other day---and lots of stuff on shunga, shunga, shunga). Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 13:44, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
I do believe I've showed you WP:RX before, right? And yes, a TFA on shunga would be... interesting. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 13:53, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, and I've actually made quite a bit if use of it. The problem sometimes is not knowing there's something you need if you can't browse through the content. Hopefully I'll be one of those who's granted a JSTOR account so I can browse more freely. A shunga article would be something I could handle (a shelffull of sources at the library), but I do must of my editing where that would be awkward...
The more I read about pricing, the more I feel like I want to rip out what I've already added. I'm reading Ukiyo-e by Jun'ichi Ôkubo (2008) at the moment, and he has a short section that looks at prices. It appears that "typical" prices varied quite widely, and it doesn't appear the supposedly "typical" 20 mon of the early 19th centruy was really all that typical. The records are so scanty, it seems, that analyzing them seems to be as much speculation as anything. Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 00:59, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
@Johnbod: I think I've dealt with most of your concerns in one way or another. I guess the biggest gap is in how they were collected, and how much artists made. For incomes, I've come across a few tidbits about Hokusai (always broke), Hiroshige (always struggled, but made more than he would've as a firefighter), and Kunichika (apparently made 100 sen for a particular triptych in the 1870s), but I'm turning up blanks for anything general enough to work into the article ... Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 07:27, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
Actually, I just ran across a book—Ukiyo-e Shuppan-ron by Ôkubo Jun'ichi—that deals with the production and comerical aspects of ukiyo-e, and it was published in 2013. It looks like it spends a lot of time examing in detail what little hard evidence there is, and still looks like it doesn't have hard answers to a lot of these questions, but I've found a couple of things in it that could be used to refine what's in the article. Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 22:52, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, thanks for acting promptly. I won't be able to work through these, and check the rest of the article, until the w/e I'm afraid. Johnbod (talk) 23:13, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
More from Johnbod
"such printing was reserved for Buddhist seals and images..." seals? maybe. But also texts and prayers, no?
I'm not sure. The wording doesn't seem to exclude them, but it doesn't mention them either. Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 23:25, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
" The landscape genre has come to define ukiyo-e for Western audiences,..." a bit overstated imo. The most famous single series are landscapes, but portraits are well enough known too, I'd have thought.
Maybe "define" is too strong, but it is true that many can name no more than Hokusai and Hiroshige. I read an Amazon review recently of someone who gave a one-star review to a book on ukiyo-e history because he was disappointed that the landscapes were relegated to the back of the book (!). Even amongst the foreigners I run into in Japan, it's common for them to define "ukiyo-e" as "Japanese landscape prints"---this is despite the porminent Sharakus that constantly confront them on billboards---many of them aren't aware the Shakarus are also ukiyo-e. I have to admit, once upon a time I was one of those people ... do you think "The landscape genre has come to dominate Western perspecitves of ukiyo-e" is still too strong? Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 21:21, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
No, that would be fair to say. Johnbod (talk) 00:22, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I'm interested in the development of the (very un-Chinese I think) "large-headed" close-up approach to portaiture, its similarities to Western portraits in terms of pure scale, but its difference in terms of the strong gender contrast: highly expressive, contorted male faces, but female faces with any expression having to be read into an essentially blank composure, and women often seen from behind. Anything in the sources?
It sure sounds like something that would have been written about, but Google's not being my friend today ... I'll keep looking. Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 21:21, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
Style section should mention the continuation of yamato-e traditions of composition and viewpoints - non-centralized compositions, oblique, high, views of the scene, elements cut-off by the frame, things seen in secondary spaces at the back of the composition, that sort of thing. That was a large part of what excited the West.
Do you have anything on this? Really it's the only point delaying a support, but I think it should be in. Johnbod (talk) 15:13, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
Sorry I've been so quiet. I actually have been busy hunting some of these things down, and I have added , but I've been having trouble finding a source on the first bit. I can find sources that say they're features of Yamato-e, and I can find sources saying that ukiyo-e inherited a lot from Yamato-e, but I can't find a source that says explicitly that those specific aspects were inherited from Yamato-e. It would technically be WP:SYNTHESIS if the sources didn't back it up. You wouldn't happen to know such a source, would you? Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 23:25, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
No, I'm afraid not. Paine, Robert Treat, in: Paine, R. T. & Soper A, "The Art and Architecture of Japan", Pelican History of Art, 3rd ed 1981, Penguin (now Yale History of Art), ISBN0140561080 mentions the interest in everyday life as connecting Yamato-e and Ukiyo-e, but not these stylistic points. Ok, let's draw a line.
"the woodcarvers, who prepared the woodblocks for printing.... " You might mention/link to Formschneider, the Western equivalent.
File:Toshusai_Sharaku-_Otani_Oniji,_1794.jpg: source link does not appear to be working
Fixed. The museum has removed the ".htm" from all their URLs. I imagine this will have broken a lot of links. Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 02:58, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
File:Moronobu_b-w_shunga.jpg needs US PD tag. Same with File:KIYONOBU-Yamanaka-Ichikawa-1714.jpg, File:ToyokuniActor.jpg, File:Yamamoto_1904.jpg, File:Kawase_Zôjôji.jpg, File:'Lyric_No._23'_by_Onchi_Koshiro,_Honolulu_Museum_of_Art.JPG, File:Suzuki_Harunobu_-_Woman_Visiting_the_Shrine_in_the_Night_-_Google_Art_Project_crop.jpg, File:Ernest_Fenollosa.jpg
File:Nishikawa_Sukenobu,_1739,_Ehon_Asakayama,16_gris.jpg: description is correct but the rest of the information template is incorrect. Same with File:Couple_in_a_Snowstorm,_Suzuki_Harunobu,_c._1768_-_Hood_Museum_of_Art_-_DSC09257.JPG (here licensing tag is incorrect also)
Closing comment -- Fair few dup links but most are in the galleries and the others may be justified by the length of the article; you may want to review with the checker but I won't hold up promotion for it. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 13:48, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this page.