|KEY WORD : art history / paintings|
| Lit. woodblocking shading. A technique used to produce
graduated tones on a woodblock print *ukiyo-e
浮世絵. A separate woodblock was carved for darker or lighter areas. The block was
first carved to leave an area in relief that was slightly larger (approximately. 0.7cm)
around the graduated colored area indicated on the artist's proof. The edges of
this carved area were then abraded at a slight slant to the correct dimensions
using the stalks of the tokusa 木賊 (Dutch rush/Equisetum hiemale L.), and
polished using the leaves of the muku 椋 tree (Aphananthe aspera Planch).
This block, when printed in the same manner as the main color block, will produce
a colored area with slightly fuzzy edges, appearing to blend gradually into the
surrounding colors, achieving a graduated effect. Printers exploited this technique
frequently on the prints of later artists such as Utagawa Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳 (1797-1861)
to soften the edges of clouds, to shade areas of figures' faces, and in imitation
of chiaroscuro effects of Western prints.
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