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Jigsaw puzzles from Japan

Woodblock prints

Artists on this page: Hokusai - Hiroshige - Sharaku - Utamaro

What are "woodblock prints"?

Often referred to as Ukiyo-e, these are historical Japanese prints made with hand-carved wooden blocks. The technique of using a number of blocks to produce multi-coloured images was developed in the 18th century, but the best-known examples are from the early 19th century: perhaps the "Wave", from Hokusai's Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji is the single Japanese work of art best known in the West. With their brilliant colours, and very different approach to composition, these images had a huge impact when they were discovered by western artists—Toulouse-Lautrec, van Gogh, and others—in the age of impressionism at the end of the 19th century.

More information...

Katsushika Hokusai

The artist Katsushika Hokusai is best known for his series of 36 views of Mount Fuji, in the bold and simple style of the Ukiyo-e (or "floating world") style. He changed his name several times, so this is only the best-known of his brush names; as is the tradition, Hokusai is his given name (a fact that has plainly confused at least one art reference book).

The "thirty-six views" of Mount Fuji are the best-known of Hokusai's work... See the Mt. Fuji puzzles page for photo puzzles and more information about Japan's highest mountain.

Wave
Position map

2000: Wave (Hokusai)

The famous wave is the first in the famous series of views of Mt. Fuji. It is more properly known as "In the Hollow of a Wave off the Coast at Kanagawa."

The waves not only dwarf the figures in the boats, but manage to make Fuji, seen in the far distance, look positively tiny.

Detail

* This puzzle has TINY pieces!

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An Epoch puzzle: 2000 pieces; 53 x 38 cm (21" x 15")
Code: E54005 (54-005 on box)
Retail price ¥2000 (approx. US$18.69 €15.75 £14.49)
Shipping from ¥900 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$8.41 €7.09 £6.52)
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Red Fuji
Position map

1053: Red Fuji (Hokusai)

Properly known as "Mt. Fuji in clear weather," this is number two in the famous series of thirty-six views by Hokusai.

* This puzzle has TINY pieces!

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An Apollo puzzle: 1053 pieces; 38 x 26 cm (15" x 10")
Code: P47521 (47-521 on box)
Retail price ¥1600 (approx. US$14.95 €12.60 £11.59)
Shipping from ¥600 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$5.61 €4.72 £4.35)
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Wave
Position map

1053: Wave (Hokusai)

The famous wave is the first in the famous series of views of Mt. Fuji. It is more properly known as "In the Hollow of a Wave off the Coast at Kanagawa."

* This puzzle has TINY pieces!

In stock
An Apollo puzzle: 1053 pieces; 38 x 26 cm (15" x 10")
Code: P47516 (47-516 on box)
Retail price ¥1600 (approx. US$14.95 €12.60 £11.59)
Shipping from ¥600 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$5.61 €4.72 £4.35)
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Wave
Position map

1000: Wave (Hokusai)

The waves not only dwarf the figures in the boats, but manage to make Fuji look tiny, seen only in the far distance.

* This puzzle has TINY pieces!

In stock
A Beverly puzzle: 1000 pieces; 38 x 26 cm (15" x 10")
Code: BM81838 (M81-838 on box)
Retail price ¥2000 (approx. US$18.69 €15.75 £14.49)
Shipping from ¥600 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$5.61 €4.72 £4.35)
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Red Fuji
Position map

1000: Red Fuji (Hokusai)

Properly known as "Mt. Fuji in clear weather," this is number two in the famous series of thirty-six views by Hokusai.

* This puzzle has TINY pieces!

In stock
A Beverly puzzle: 1000 pieces; 38 x 26 cm (15" x 10")
Code: BM81839 (M81-839 on box)
Retail price ¥2000 (approx. US$18.69 €15.75 £14.49)
Shipping from ¥600 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$5.61 €4.72 £4.35)
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Fuji 36 views
Position map

1000: Fuji 36 views (Hokusai)

The most famous of Hokusai's works, these are generally know (as the puzzle is titled) as "Thirty-six view of Mount Fuji." In fact, though, there were a total of 46 of these woodcuts, which are all shown on this puzzle.

In stock
A Beverly puzzle: 1000 pieces; 72 x 49 cm (28" x 19")
Code: B31474 (31-474 on box)
Retail price ¥3300 (approx. US$30.84 €25.98 £23.91)
Shipping from ¥1100 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$10.28 €8.66 £7.97)
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Hiroshige

Fifty-three stations of the Tokaido

1000: Fifty-three stations of the Tokaido (Hiroshige)

The complete series of Hiroshige's famous prints, "The fifty-three stations of the Tokaido." This consists of 55 views in total, one for each of the endpoints in Edo (modern Tokyo) and Kyoto, and one for each of the 53 staging points along the way. The pictures are said to be based on Hiroshige's real experience of the journey in 1832.

Detail

Wikipedia article on the series

Hiroshige (1797 – 1858) was inspired by seeing the landscape images of Hokusai, to whom he became a younger rival. He joined the flourishing Utagawa school, and produced thousands of woodblock prints, using the most advanced techniques of the time. He is most famous for his series "The 53 stations of the Tokaido."

He is usually known as Utagawa Hiroshige, being his brush name within the school, but he was born into a low-ranking samurai family (with the job of fireman), and so is also sometimes known by his real family name, Ando.

In stock
An Epoch puzzle: 1000 pieces; 75 x 50 cm (30" x 20")
Code: E11447 (11-447 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$28.04 €23.62 £21.74)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.21 €9.45 £8.70)
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Sharaku

Otani Oniji

1000: Otani Oniji (Sharaku)

The actor Otani Oniji strikes an intense pose in the role of Yakko Edobei. A classic Sharaku kabuki portrait.

Very little of certainty is known about Sharaku (this is his given name, though it is very likely no-one's real name; his family name, Tōshūsai, is rarely used at all). His works, caricatures of kabuki artists, appeared over the space of less than a year from mid-1794, and then he totally disappeared. Theories abound!

In stock
A Cuties puzzle: 1000 pieces; 50 x 75 cm (20" x 30")
Code: C10038 (1000-038 on box)
Retail price ¥3600 (approx. US$33.64 €28.35 £26.09)
Shipping from ¥1000 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$9.35 €7.87 £7.25)
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Utamaro

Three beauties of the present day

1000: Three beauties of the present day (Utamaro)

The "present day" of course refers to the 18th century: this work was created in around 1793, portraying three famous geisha of the time. Their names are written at the top right (in very hard to read old writing; family names are first of course):

  • 富本豊ひな Tomimoto Toyohina
  • 難波屋きた Naniwaya Kita
  • 高しまひさ Takashima Hisa

Born around 1753, Utamaro was one of the most successful woodblock artists in his own time, specialising in sensuous portraits of women.

In stock
A Cuties puzzle: 1000 pieces; 50 x 75 cm (20" x 30")
Code: C10037 (1000-037 on box)
Retail price ¥3600 (approx. US$33.64 €28.35 £26.09)
Shipping from ¥1000 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$9.35 €7.87 £7.25)
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