Vocabulary List

The Women of Shin Hanga: The Judith and Joseph Barker Collection of Japanese Prints

This glossary provides definitions to words used in the pre-visit material that are likely to come up during a visit to the exhibition.

Ukiyo-e: A Japanese art movement that flourished from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries and produced paintings and prints depicting the everyday life and interests of the common people. Usually the word ukiyo is literally translated as "floating world" in English, referring at once to a notion of an evanescent world, to impermanence, to fleeting beauty, and to the realm of entertainment (including kabuki).

Kabuki: A popular type of theatrical performance in Japan, developed primarily in the seventeenth century, characterized by elaborate costuming, rhythmic dialogue, stylized acting, music, and dancing. Both male and female roles are performed by male actors.

Shin Hanga: Literally means “new print” or "new woodcut (block) prints. Shin hanga was an art movement in early-twentieth-century Japan that revitalized traditional ukiyo-e art rooted in the Edo and Meiji periods (seventeenth to nineteenth centuries). It maintained the traditional ukiyo-e collaborative system (hanmoto system) where the artist, carver, printer, and publisher engaged in a division of labor, but artists innovated using new technologies and modern subject matter.

Heron: A grey or white wading bird with long neck and long legs and (usually) a long bill.

Woodblock print: An art form where an image or design is carved into one or more blocks of wood and then, using paint or ink, the image is transferred from the woodblock onto a piece of paper creating a print.