Floating World

great wave ofkanagawa

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As I was browsing through the internet during a study break, I came across one of my favorite paintings – The Great Wave of Kanagawa painted by the famous Japanese artist Hatsushika Hokusai. Although this painting has been immortalized in various forms throughout the ages, including on this music art I featured several months ago, I was curious about its original story. On further research, I found that this genre of art is known as Ukiyo-e, a form of Japanese woodblock prints created between the 17th and 20th centuries. Ukiyo, literally translated means “floating world.”

Floating World. Such a beautiful idea – to capture everything that is fleeting and surreal. A novelist from the time of Ukiyo-e described it beautifully:

“… Living only for the moment, turning our full attention to the pleasures of the moon, the snow, the cherry blossoms and the maple leaves; singing songs, drinking wine, diverting ourselves in just floating, floating; … refusing to be disheartened, like a gourd floating along with the river current: this is what we call the floating world…”

– Asai Ryoi, Ukiyo monogatari

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Hirosaki Castle by Hiroshi Yoshida, 1935 

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Feminine Waves (Menami) by Hatsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) 

After browsing through endless archives of these stunning block prints, I turned to modern art. These lovely paper cuttings remind me of a “floating world.” To me, they are a modern twist on the traditional art with their layers of intricacy hovering one on top of the other creating dimension out of paper.

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Vertical Landscape 

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72 Hour Cities for Sunday Times Travel Magazine 

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Bound to be Free

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The Roots of Heaven 

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The Bird That Thinks It’s A Plane boveylee-vase-re[construction]

Vase Re-[Construction] 
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Vase- Re[construction] Detailwingtip-voyage

Wingtip voyage 

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Sawing Waves
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Art by Hina Aoyama 

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