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Japanese Woodblock Prints were produced using a technique much like how we use rubber stamps these days.
The text or image was first drawn onto washi (Japanese paper), then glued face-down onto a plank of wood, usually cherry. Wood was then cut away, based on the drawing outlines. A small wooden hard object called a baren was used to press or burnish the paper against the inked woodblock to apply the ink to the paper. Although this may have been done purely by hand at first, complex wooden mechanisms were soon invented and adopted to help hold the woodblock perfectly still and apply proper pressure in the printing process. This was especially helpful with the introduction of multiple colours that had to be applied with precision over previous ink layers.
While, again, text was nearly always monochrome, as were images in books, the growth of the popularity of ukiyo-e brought with it demand for ever increasing numbers of colours and complexity of techniques.
These prints are rendered using Nishiki-e ("brocade pictures")—a method of using multiple blocks for separate portions of the image, using a number of colours to achieve complex and detailed images. A separate block was carved to apply only the part of the image designated for a single colour.