Category:Ukiyo-e Colorants

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The MFA has over 50,000 Japanese woodblock prints and over XXX printed books covering the Edo period to the present. The Japanese woodblock print collection spans the Edo period () from the birth to color printing to its height as a commercial product to its end in the Meiji period (). Also covers a wide breadth of artist working at the time….. The collection from prominent Bostonians who collected these Japanese woodblock prints such as Bigelow, Ross, and the Spaulding brothers are the base of the collection…

This ukiyo-e colorant database comes out of a long collaboration between the Asian Conservation Studio, the Scientific Research department, and the many volunteers who contributed to the Japanese woodblock print colorant research. We would also like to thank Richard Pinkowitz, also one of the volunteers that helped run analysis on the prints, for donating to this database project which allowed us to bring ukiyo-e colorant database online.

For any questions or ways to contribute to this project, please contact Thank you.

Colorant Database

The ukiyo-e print or Japanese woodblock print colorant database is a…… This database currently focuses on prints from the MFA’s collection especially from 17XX-18XX. We hope to continue adding to the database but at this moment covers only the colorants found in the above mentioned time frame so does not yet cover the whole breadth of colorants used in Japanese woodblock prints.

Black/Gray Carbon black, sumi, or soot from oil lamps or pine soot mixed with animal glue is used to print the keyblock as well as any other black area. It can range from a deep black to a blue grey color (pine soot).

Blue Until the introduction of Prussian blue, indigo and dayflower were the only blues used. These blues can easily be identified using FORS. (I thought a little comment for each color and what is used to identify it would be nice but maybe it’s unnecessary since this will be explained in the color page) -Indigo -Dayflower -Prussian blue (Underline means link to another page)

Brown -hematite -red lead -mixtures --faded purple

Green Green is created as a mixture or overprinting of a blue and yellow. -Indigo/orpiment -Other combinations (List maybe just the common ones and other could be Others)

Purple Purple is created as a mixture or overprinting of a blue and red/pink. -Safflower/dayflower -Madder/dayflower -Other combinations

Red -Safflower -Madder -Sappanwood

Yellow Orpiment and turmeric appear to be the most commonly used yellows. Although there is literature that points to the potential use of other organic yellows, currently it is difficult to distinguish between these flavonoid yellows and little has been detected. -Orpiment -Turmeric -Gamboge -Flavonoid yellows

White White is often used in a mixture rather than on its own, allowing for the paper to be the “white” -calcium carbonate -white lead

Mica description

Metallic Description

Pages in category "Ukiyo-e Colorants"

The following 2 pages are in this category, out of 2 total.