Ukiyoe Star Wars

Ukiyoe Star Wars

Now let’s see. What could be better and more awesometastic than the steam punk version of “anything” Star Wars?

Why! The Ukiyoe* version of Star Wars of course!!!

Brooklyn based artist Steve Bialik is the one we have to thank for bringing us these. Probably the best thing since the original manga version of Star Wars.

*Ukiyoe (浮世絵) : Lit. “Pictures of the floating world” are Japanese woodblock prints and paintings made in between the 17th and the 20th centuries, featuring motifs of landscapes, history, theatre, and yes… even the local brothel. Also, it has been credited for being the precursor of present-day manga art. One well known example of Ukiyoe art is Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”, part of his series of -The 36 Views of Mount Fuji-.
There also exists a sexually explicit variation of Ukiyoe, known as Shunga (春画) which was of a more underground nature since it was forbidden art and usually commissioned only by the nobility or the wealthy. It deserves an entry on its own so I will definitely write a more extensive article about Shunga later on

There is great attention to detail in all of these. For instance, they are all painted following the style used on hanging scrolls, so they could actually be hanged on the tokonoma of a nice Japanese style room. Then notice the Imperial and the Rebel “mon” on the upper left cornerof each picture, and next to it you can see the personal seal of each character. Also you can see that the robes of the characters also have their own design or “gara” (柄). This is similar to the fabrics used in kimonos and a detail that most Ukiyoe artists also focus on.

From left to right: Darth Vader as a Daimyo Lord and the sinister Emperor Palpatine.

To the left Bobba-Fett, as an archer for hire and to the right the mighty Jabba the Hutt (slave included).

Our most beloved droids C-3PO and a karakuri version of R2-D2 (a “karakuri ningyou” is the Japanese version of a clockwork puppet, they actually existed, most commonly as entertainment and some other even had a purpose, such as serving tea) And to the right, venerable Master Yoda.

To the left the great master Obi Wan Kenobi and to the right Han Solo as a samurai warrior, together with Chewbacca as his “Oni”, or a demonic sidekick.

And then to the left Princess Leia and to the right my favorite in here, Admiral Ackbar. It is good that these two don’t get to be on the same frame, otherwise since Admiral Ackbar is depicted as an octopus… well, then you would have got to see what Shunga art looks like…

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One Responseto “Ukiyoe Star Wars”

  1. Xaliber says:

    Pretty interesting!

    Too bad the color of the characters (Vader, Kenobi, etc.) looks too modern… don’t seem to blend well with the background.

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