Heian Period Courtier on a Moonlit Beach
Kobayashi Kiyochika (Japanese, 1847–1915)
Meiji period (1868–1912)
The year 1868 was a turning point in the history of the Japan. Assimilation of western models influenced almost all spheres of life, and of course, art. During the first two decades of the Meiji period (1868-1912). The changes that took place since the Meiji Restoration were swift. The world of ukiyo-e, the traditional Japanese woodblock printing mirrored these new trends. In this first period, artists such as Hiroshige III used the traditional techniques of the ukiyo-e to mainly represent modernization and life in the big cities. We see new architecture, load carts, carriages and street trolleys drawn by horses, aerostatic balloons, steamships, and Japanese people in western fashion clothes. A new trend within the ukiyo-e that began to integrate new elements of western aesthetics to Japanese printing along with the rise in nostalgia, when fresh and delicate women were painted by artists like Utamaro and Kiyonaga.