Glossary of Japanese woodblock printmaking terminology (entry by David Bull)
(A RealAudio file containing all these words spoken by a native Japanese speaker has been prepared. Clicking on the symbol will start playback of the file at that approximate position. If you do not yet have a RealAudio plug-in for your browser, one can be downloaded free from the Real web site.)
Thanks to Sadako Ishizaki for the recording!
Flat, bull-nosed chisel.
Rough sharpening stone.
Thin, strong paper sometimes placed over the printing paper to protect it from the baren.
The hard disc of the baren, that holds the inner coil.
The board on which prints are placed after being pulled off the block.
The circular tool used to apply pressure to the paper.
Marks left in the print by the baren (intentional).
The cloth pad on which the baren is placed.
A traditional pink/red pigment.
A rusty dark red/brown pigment.
A woodblock containing an area of wide, featureless colour.
Flat tone printing.
'Push'. Used in reference to moving the kento mark away from the printer.
'Body carving' - e.g. 'regular carving'. (As opposed to 'head carving', done by the top rank carvers.)
Size. Usually a mixture of gelatin (nikawa) and alum (myoban), applied warm to both sides of the printing paper before use.
'Wiping off'. A technique of manipulating the pigment on the block.
A white substance obtained from ground-up shells.
Printing in a 'sesame seed' pattern - e.g. with rather 'speckled' colour ... not smooth.
Brush (pron: hah-kay)
Tracing on thin paper to be pasted face-down on the block surface.
Using one side of the block for more than one colour zone.
Crosspieces of wood attached to the ends of a block to help prevent warping.
'Crawl'. Used to describe a method of stacking paper.
'Straight line'. The 'partner' to the L-shaped 'kagi' corner mark of the kento.
'Pull'. Used in reference to moving the kento towards the printer.
'Real printing' (as opposed to 'kentomi zuri' - test printing)
The carver's workbench
A fine paper used for woodblock printing
Errors in which small areas of colour are forgotten in the carving of the colour blocks.
The sheet that shows where any given area of colour is to be carved.
The process of making the colour separations.
Gradation by sanding the carved areas of the block.
The 'L' mark portion of the kento.
Using one block multiple times with different colours.
Marks left by uneven planing.
'Empty printing'. Embossing.
'Head carving' - e.g. skilled carving. (As opposed to 'body carving', done by lower rank carvers.)
A style of carving which imitates the stroke of a dry brush.
A brush with pigment applied only at one end.
Register marks (see 'kagi' and 'hiki-tsuke')
'Test printing' (as opposed to 'hon zuri' - real printing)
Chisel designed specifically for cutting kento marks
Blots on the print caused by the paper 'touching down' in the wrong areas
Cleaning up the ketsu-ochi
Printing with mica powder
The paper mulberry tree
A small shim of wood driven into the block to adjust the kento
An impression taken from the key-block, for the purpose of making iro-sashi.
A type of bamboo, used for wrapping the baren.
The 'modern' type of printing brush.
The name given to the standard size of hosho paper.
Straight grain (in wood)
'Front box' (The box in front of the printer on which paper to be printed is stacked)
Flat board used to rub the bamboo skin.
The box or stand on which the 'ate-ita' is placed.
'With ears' Paper with the original rough borders.
'Waste carving'. Carved areas that will be removed when no longer needed for iro-wake calculations.
'Water brush'. The brush used for moistening the paper before printing.
A medium sharpening stone.
A soft stone used to create 'mud' on a sharpening stone.
Pigment left on the block after printing.
A ceramic mortar.
Wide area gradation.
'Put'. Used to describe a method of stacking paper.
'Backwards grain'. An area of wood grain that runs 'reversed' from the rest of the block.
Triangular chisel ('V' - shaped)
The process of clearing unneeded wood from the block
Fine sharpening stone
'White bamboo'. Used for baren construction.
Printing from the front surface of the paper.
Black, carbon-based pigment.
The outline (black) block.
The printer's bench.
'Throw-away carving'. Used to describe the process of cutting a 'release' line before the actual line itself.
Blotches of paste on the edges of printed areas.
'Beating'. Used to describe banging the brush onto the block to dislodge pigment from small holes, etc.
The carving knife.
The small bamboo 'whisk' that carries pigment to the block. (Also called 'hakobi')
Pewterwort. Used to rub the wood surface to improve printing conditions.
A common printing paper.
same as 'beta-ban'
Chisels used with a pushing motion.
A split block.
The mountain cherry tree
'Side box'. A small box for printer's tools.
'Rag printing'. Using a cloth to wipe the block.
(Note: This page is one entry in the 'Encyclopedia of Woodblock Printmaking'. If you came to this page 'directly', and not via the Encyclopedia's main outline - click here to make your way to the front page ...)