The Beautiful and Shrewd Fox

The Beautiful and Shrewd Fox
Japanese folklore is rich in stories of creatures, real and mythical, that come to life in tattoo designs. While dragons, tigers, and koi fish are some of the most popular choices for symbolism, none can match the mysterious aura of the fox. Depicting a Japanese fox in a tattoo can be quite tricky ...
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Firemen and Tattoos in Japanese Woodblock Prints

Firemen and Tattoos in Japanese Woodblock Prints
Back in the 17th and up to the 19th century, the city of Edo (today’s Tokyo) was under constant threat of fire. Closely built houses were made of highly flammable materials and the presence of candles, paper lanterns, charcoal braziers and open stoves added to the danger. Frequent earthquakes, ...
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Dragons in Japanese Tattoos and the Oyama Pilgrimage

Dragons in Japanese Tattoos and the Oyama Pilgrimage
In Edo-period Japan (1603 – 1868), dragons had special importance for ‘hikeshi’ (firemen), as they were seen as creatures of the sea and therefore not being affected by fire. In Japanese belief, dragons are associated with koi fish. Legend says that a koi fish’s ability to swim upstream and ...
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Hokusai Katsushika - Master of Drawing

Hokusai Katsushika - Master of Drawing
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) is considered to be one of the greatest artists by the entire art world. He devoted almost all of his 90 years of life to drawing and painting. Never satisfied with one technique or mastering one style of drawing, he always sought to improve as an artist. Every ...
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From Woodblock Print Art to Japanese Tattoos

From Woodblock Print Art to Japanese Tattoos
For the longest time, Japanese decorative tattoos were called horimono (彫り物, ‘carved’ ‘thing’ or ‘object’) while those used for punishment irezumi (入れ墨) which is why tattooists refused to use this term, wishing to distance their art from the rather brutal practice of ...
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Kunisada and the Tattoos of Kabuki Theatre

Kunisada and the Tattoos of Kabuki Theatre
The urban culture that developed in Edo city (today’s Tokyo) in the 18th and 19th century was a pleasure seeking one as townspeople saw kabuki theatre as the ultimate entertainment. Kabuki and its lively and daring performances offered a break amid a restricted lifestyle with plays largely ...
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Yoshitoshi Tsukioka and the Japanese Tattoo Legacy

Yoshitoshi Tsukioka and the Japanese Tattoo Legacy
Yoshitoshi Tsukioka was one of the leading figures in ukiyo-e during the Meiji era (1868-1912), and perhaps the greatest ukiyo-e artist among his contemporaries. Yoshitoshi’s style was dynamic and distinctive: he was known for experimentation in style and genre, as well as for his innovative works ...
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Kuniyoshi Utagawa – Master of Japanese Tattoos

Kuniyoshi Utagawa – Master of Japanese Tattoos
Many would recognize Kuniyoshi as one of the most iconic Japanese woodblock print artists, yet he is also credited with influencing another visual art form, that of traditional tattoo designs. These are still a source of inspiration and are followed with precision by tattooists practising Japanese ...
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Wabori & Ukiyo-e

Wabori & Ukiyo-e
The Art of Traditional Japanese Tattoos and Woodblock PrintsJapanese Gallery Kensington were proud to share a collection of extraordinary traditional woodblock prints at the London Tattoo Convention in September 2019. Featuring works by the great masters of ukiyo-e such as Kuniyoshi, Kunichika, and ...
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