For this Discover post, we travel back to the 1930s to examine an artist who made intricate woodblock prints of distant lands.
Yoshia Hiroshi was a Japanese artist who made prints in a woodblock style aimed extensively at Western audiences. Some of his most famous work include a set of postcards from his travels to India.
To give a bit of background, woodblock print making in the 20th century had moved away from its original 17th century style called ukioy-e to become shin hangs. Ukioy-e translates to mean images of the floating or sorrowful world. Yoshida was a pioneer of Shin Hanga style, taking inspiration from the rise in popularity of photography. The methods remained the same as ukoiy-e but the influence of the western eye with shadow, lighting and depth is the crucial difference. He, unlike many Japanese woodblock artists travelled frequently, visiting India and south-east Asia between 1929 and 1930.
Shinga Hanga borrows a lot from European Impressionism, with the subjects coming to life through denser colours. It was mainly aimed at commercial audiences. Most in Japanese society saw it as a lower artform compared to its predecessor. All in all Yoshida captures the essence and beauty of India during a simpler time, somewhat immortalising the landscape, culture and people.