The Library of Congress Has 2,500 Japanese Woodblock Prints Available

The Library of Congress’ massive digitisation process means you can access 2,500 traditional Japanese woodblocks for free.

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As part of the Library of Congress’ digitisation process, 2,500 Japanese Woodblock Prints have recently been published. The collection is called ‘Fine Prints: Japan Pre 1915’, and all prints can be browsed, viewed and downloaded for free.

Through their digitisation process, the huge collection has been curated into sub-collections - both culturally and chronologically. The collection consists of nearly 2,700 traditional prints and drawings dating from the 17th century to the 20th century.

This release of rich and traditional Japanese art includes some of the most influential Japanese artists, including Hokusai, Hiroshige, Yoshiikui, Sadahide, and Kuniyosh, along with many of the country’s printing movements such as Ukiyo-e (“Pictures of the floating world”) and Shin-hanga (“New Prints”).

The Library of Congress released a statement that read: “Many schools, traditions, and genres are represented - notably surimono, privately distributed prints combining pictures and poetry, and prints from the Russo-Japanese and Sino-Japanese wars. However, the primary strengths of the collection are the Japanese art forms known as Ukiyo-e and Yokohama-e.”

The Library of congress has released 25 million pieces as a part of their new digital platform, and all of them are historically and artistically important. However, this release of Japanese art is particularly significant, because until the 19th century these kinds of collections wouldn’t leave Japan. That was until the 1850s, when new trade agreements were drawn up between America and Japan that allowed for the movement of people, ideas, food and art between the two countries.

Explore the extensive collection of historically significant Japanese art:

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Adrian Giannarelli


Isabelle Chan


Isabelle Chan



Isabelle Chan

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Isabelle Chan


Grace Kirkby