From Woodblocks to Comics is a small exhibition that brings together
traditional Japanese ukiyo-e (floating world) woodblocks; prints and
watercolours by European artists; and manga (Japanese comics). Japanese and European artists across time have drawn on other cultures for
inspiration. This exhibition traces these influences through two hundred
years - from traditional woodblocks to modern comics.
From classical Chinese painters Japanese artists borrowed the flat
perspective that became a hallmark of their own art. In their ukiyo-e
printmaking they developed their own delicate and graceful style that
captured the work and pleasures of everyday folk. When these prints reached
Europe, this distinctively Japanese look began to appear in the work of
In manga, or Japanese comics, East and West came together in another way.
The traditional woodcut, combined with the action and style of American
comics, quickly gained a huge following. Western pop culture had arrived in
Several works from Te Papa's collection are shown, and include prints by
Hiroshige, Toulouse-Lautrec, Manet, Toyokuni I, Toyokuni III, Pissarro, and
Daumier. Two Manga by Kosuke Fujishima, Kazuo Koike, and Goseki Kojima are
For conservation reasons, the Japanese ukiyo-e prints will be replaced with
other ukiyo-e prints after three months. These very old prints were made
using vegetable dyes that are extremely light sensitive and can fade very
Maisaka. Plate 31 (Kyoka state).
From the series: Fifty three stations of the Tokaido Road,
by Utagawa Hiroshige, (1797-1858), Japan