Floating World

great wave ofkanagawa


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


Hirosaki Castle by Hiroshi Yoshida, 1935 


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.


Vertical Landscape 


72 Hour Cities for Sunday Times Travel Magazine 


Bound to be Free


Unter dem Nebelweer16_img0729-2

The Roots of Heaven 


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

Vase Re-[Construction] 
boveylee-vase-re[construction]-d5 detail

Vase- Re[construction] Detailwingtip-voyage

Wingtip voyage 


Sawing Waves
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhina detailf217a200f8486f98c21b4d974bc402f0

Art by Hina Aoyama 

2 thoughts on “Floating World

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s