A trip to the Masters of Japanese Prints exhibition

Japanese culture plays a huge role in tattooing, even American traditional tattooers, the likes of Sailor Jerry and Don Ed Hardy were influenced by the Japanese style of tattooing (known as irezumi).
When we heard the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery had an exhibit of ukiyo-e (woodblock prints and paintings) from some of the most influential Japanese artists aptly titled ‘Masters of Japanese prints  : Hokusai and Hiroshige landscapes’, we knew we didn’t want to miss out on it.

One of Hokusai’s waterfalls

The exhibit consists of mainly original wood block prints. Bristol museum actually commissioned a woodblock print from a workshop in Tokyo to recreate one of Hiroshige’s prints, showing the process of creating a colour print. The printing is done in layers, almost like screen printing although each ‘screen’ is hand carved out of wood, painted and layed out over the paper to create the layer. A process that obviously requires great skill and time. It was pretty awesome to see how it all works and gives you an idea of how long the process must have taken to create a single print.

Cherry blossom woodcut used for printing

Most of the prints are of Japanese landscapes (as the exhibit name suggests), the use of colour and fine lines has a real beauty to it and gives you a sense of Japan in that period. We left the exhibit feeling really inspired and with a new apprecitation of Ukiyo-e (a style of Japanese woodblock print and painting from the Edo period) and the work of the Japanese artists on show.

The Great Wave, one of Hokusai’s most famous prints



We’d definitely recommend going to view this exhibition, it’s free but you’re welcome to make a donation which I’d highly recommend as a lot of museums rely on donations to bring us new exhibitions.

The exhibition runs from 22 September 2018 – 6 January 2019 so you’ve got over a little over a month to make a trip there.  They also have some pretty cool pieces in their Oriental exhibit which I think is part of the museums constant exhibitions.

Chinese Dragons

Hand carved Netsuke which are little ornaments which are suspended off the sash of a kimono


Skiving at the museum

Be sure to look out for the next exhibit in the series : Masters of Japanese prints: Nature and seasons
18 May – 8 September 2019, we’ll definitely be going!

Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

Oh and there’s some Banksy to see too 🙂

Banksy angel scuplture on show.


Some reference : 

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery


If you’d like to be notified of future blog posts be sure to Sign Up to our mailing list which you can find at the bottom of the page.


Seven Swords Tattoo Studio