Japanese Ink Woodblock art is a traditional style of artistic creativity where multiple colors are layered through the application of a woodblock carrying the ink and transferring it to paper.


Woodblock printing in Japan differs in that it uses water-based inks-as opposed to western woodcut, which often uses oil-based inks. The Japanese water-based inks provide a wide range of vivid colors, glazes, and transparency.


The medium quickly gained popularity among artists, and was used to produce small, cheap, art prints as well as books. The great pioneers in applying this method to the creation of art books, and in preceding mass production for general consumption, were Honami K'etsu and Suminokura Soan. At their studio in Saga, the pair created a number of woodblocks of the Japanese classics, both text and images, essentially converting handscrolls to printed books, and reproducing them for wider consumption.


The text or image was first drawn onto washi (Japanese paper), then glued face-down onto a plank of wood, usually cherry. Wood was then cut away, based on the drawing outlines. A small wooden hard object called a baren was used to press or burnish the paper against the inked woodblock to apply the ink to the paper. Although this may have been done purely by hand at first, complex wooden mechanisms were soon invented and adopted to help hold the woodblock perfectly still and apply proper pressure in the printing process. This was especially helpful with the introduction of multiple colors that had to be applied with precision over previous ink layers.



The seven matted and framed woodblock ink prints shown in this section are from Tom Rucktenwald's maternal grandfather's furniture store, which closed during the US depression of the early 1930's. These prints came directly from the store and were part of the remaining unsold stock that was then housed in the basement of family home. As a child, Tom found these and asked his grandfather if he could have them. The grandfather removed some nudes that were included in the original stock and gifted the remaining 7 items to his grandson.


Tom framed these, maintaining some of the original documentation and paper backing inside the frame, where it was still available. The prints are on an acidic based paper but are in excellent condition.


All items are available for sale at a price of $250 each.                          


Japanese Woodblock Ink Print #1






Japanese Woodblock Ink Print #2





Japanese Woodblock Ink Print #3





Japanese Woodblock Ink Print #4






Japanese Woodblock Ink Print #5






Japanese Woodblock Ink Print #6






Japanese Woodblock Ink Print #7





Created by

Thomas Rucktenwald

Email:  tom@thomasrucktenwald.com 



The presentations are vintage Japanese woodblock ink prints from the 1920s and 1930s as described and are guaranteed authentic to that era..