Artisans, from the series "An Up-to-Date Parody of the Four Classes"
Utagawa Kunisada (Japanese, 1786–1865)
Edo period (1615–1868)
Triptych of polychrome woodblock prints; ink and color on paper
Each 10 x 14 1/2 in. (25.4 x 36.8 cm)
Gift of Cole J. Younger, 1975
Not on view
To represent artisans, one of the four classes (warriors, farmers, artisans, and merchants) of the Edo period, Kunisada replaced the men more typical of the theme with pretty women and illustrated the interior of a woodblock printer's atelier. The woman at a table at the right is incising fine lines into a woodblock through a sheet of paper bearing an artist's painted design. In the center near the window, another woman is using a gouge and mallet to remove unwanted wood from another block. The woman in the center foreground is applying sizing to a sheet of paper. At the left, in front of a printing alcove, a female printer is waiting for these preparations to be completed.