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Learning objects Making a woodblock print, 1935

TLF ID M007086

This is an animated step-by-step demonstration of how lines and colours are successively built up in the process of woodblock printing. It shows the separate images produced by the 20 wooden blocks used in making the colour print entitled ‘Yanagibashi Bridge in the Snow’. The lines of each individual block and the colours applied in its printing appear on the left of each screen and their contribution to the whole print on the right.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This resource provides insights into the aesthetic elements of the work 'Yanagibashi Bridge in the Snow' by Ohara Shoson (1877-1945) and into the design process needed to break the work into 20 separate components. Each component required a separate woodblock to be prepared in relief. The areas on the block not meant to be printed were carved away leaving the image to be printed proud on the surface.
  • The animation is valuable historically as well as artistically. Appreciation of woodblock prints continued well into the 20th century in Japan. Interest in the process was such that the proprietor of the Wanatabe Colour-prints Shop found there was a market in 1935 for a full-size accordion-style booklet showing the components of a colour woodblock print.
Learning area
  • Arts
  • Languages other than English
  • Studies of society and environment

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Organization: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Description: content provider
  • Address: Massachusetts
  • URL:
  • Person: Ohara Shoson
  • Description: author
  • Publisher
  • Name: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Organization: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: Massachusetts, UNITED STATES
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Interactive
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology © 2008 Visualizing Cultures. Creative Commons-Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0.