Mokuhanga: japanese xylography workshop

July 5, 2019, 10:00 ÷ 17:00
Galleria Nobili
Via Marsala, 4
20121 Milano (MI)

Mokuhanga lab
Japanese woodcut workshop
edited by Asako Hishiki

Mokuhanga workshop

The workshop is aimed at learning the principles of the Japanese xylography mokuhanga.
This traditional technique assists the development of concentration, careful observation, and manual skills thanks to the use of natural materials. During the day we will deal with history, tools, materials, engraving, and printing. Students will learn how to transfer the chosen image on one or two matrices using the kentō, the Japanese register; each block will be engraved with traditional tools and methods, subsequently applying water-based pigments; the use of the baren on more matrices will complete the polychrome printing.
We will make a xylographic matrix using different kind of paper and tissue, making a deep dive into Tanaka Ikko works.

Tanaka Ikko 田中一光

Tanaka Ikko was a graphic designer, born in January 1st, 1930 and died in 2002.
He never stuck to a specific artistic vein but constantly followed a personal expression of style with influences from Rinpa 琳派 school. He's been working for a long time for Muji, whose logo has been design by him.

An Ikko Tanaka work called 'Music today 85'

Laboratory programme

  • historical background on Japanese xylography
  • differences between Japanese and Italian xylography
  • overview of the materials used
  • study of the detail of the drawing we selected and its transfer on a wooden matrix
  • carving
  • Printing tests on different types of paper: mino, hahnemühle, Japanese paper for restoration, cotton, silk

Materials to transfer the drawing from the paper to the matrix

  • drawing (proposed by the teacher)
  • glossy paper
  • carbon paper
  • pencils (B,H)
  • wooden matrices

Materials for matrix carving

  • four types of gouges (knife gouge, nail gouge, flat gouge, pointed gouge)
  • Anti-slip mat

Printing materials

  • different types of paper
  • sumi 墨 ink
  • xylography ink
  • tempera and watercolor
  • traditional xylography and current use brushes
  • glue (rice starch)
  • baren, 馬連
  • small white bowls
  • buckets and rags to clean brushes
  • pink paper newspapers

Japanese mokuhanga tools

Asako Hishiki biography

To learn more about personal and collective exhibitions, please see Asako Hishiki bio


  • Max 12 students
  • Cost € 120
  • Suitable for all levels, no experience required
  • All the materials are supplied by the artist
  • The matrix and the prints produced remain the property of the student
  • For subscriptions please write to:

Cancellation and non-attendance

If the cancellation occurs:
  • 10 or more days before the course: we will refund 85% of the amount
  • 7,8,9 days before: 50% refund
  • less than 7 days or non-attendance: no refund

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