The popular art of the Japanese people in the latter half of the 18th Century was the polychrome woodblock print of "genre" type, illustrating various pastimes of everyday life such as the decorous sports shown on this and the following page. Japan was in a period of peace and prosperity and much of the populace had the time and means to enjoy sports and games. In the delightful print above, by Isoda Koriusai, two elegant young men engage in archery while a girl attendant tries to hide her giggles behind her hand.
Sold in the market places and at fairs, these Japanese prints were the work of artists whose skill has rarely been excelled. This woodcut of two young girls fishing was done by unchallenged master of the group, Suzuki Harunobu.
The prints of this period were the first made in Japan with several blocks using different colors, a process developed in 1742. In the print shown at the right two women, dressed in male hunting attire, hunt with a falcon.
ALL PRINTS FROM ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO COLLECTION.