With a long rich history, Japanese woodblock prints are sources of inspiration for everything from tattoos to reimagined video games characters. And while we’ve already shared how the Library of Congress has made their ukiyo-e available free online, a new database brings together over 220,000 examples of the art form.
Ukiyo-e.org is a digital archive that collates collections from 24 museums, libraries, auction houses, and art dealers around the world. By uniting the individual collections, there are several interesting features that make Ukiyo-e.org a top destination for anyone interested in Japanese printmaking. Aside from the ability to search by institution, artist, and time period, you can also upload an image to see if there are any similar prints in the database. And, once you click on an entry, similar prints in the archive also appear, allowing you to click through and see the differences in color and quality.
These features make the website, which was started by programmer and Khan Academy engineer John Resig, the top entry point for those looking to discover more about Japanese woodblock prints. And while greats of the “golden age” like Hiroshige and Hokusai are well represented, it’s fascinating the see the hidden gems available within the vast archive. There are even modern and contemporary prints that demonstrate how the ukiyo-e tradition carries on today.