Ukiyo-e is a traditional Japanese art of wood block printing and painting. Gaining popularity in the 17th century, the art form depicted landscape imagery (you're probably familiar with these iconic Ukiyo-e waves), but more notably, scenes of geisha, courtesans, sumo wrestlers, and other entertainers from so-called "urban pleasure districts." Its focus on this hedonistic world is where the name ukiyo-e derives, which translated from Japanese means "pictures of the floating world." Now, a group of Japanese artists have given new meaning to Ukiyo-e by applying the art form to a different type of floating world – the world of Star Wars.
The Star Wars Ukiyo-e prints is a project that's become a reality through Japanese crowdfunding site Makuake, where it raised about 12 million yen (almost $100,000) of its 1.5 million yen goal. There are three different Star Wars-themed prints – one featuring Darth Vader; one featuring Queen Amidala, R2-D2, and Anakin Skywalker; and one depicting the Battle of Hoth. Each is of a limited edition run of 200. Prints cost 54,000 yen a piece, or all three are priced at 162,000 yen (although the 3-print bundle option sold out pretty quickly).
Aside from being limited edition, the reason for the high cost is that the prints are made in the traditional style of the craft: first they are painted by the eshi; then they are carved into wood by the horishi; and finally they are printed with ink on paper by the surishi.
Watch the video below from the Makuaka campaign to see the painstaking and skilled process.
And in case you're wondering, all the imagery is licensed from Lucas Films, so these aren't just amazing works of art, but very, very collectible Star Wars memorabilia.
Via: Spoon & Tamago