Ukiyo E- An appwindow into the world of Japanese art

When the late Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone before the public in June 2007, he described it as a combination of a phone, ipod and and an internet communication device. This event undoubtedly shook up the smartphone world and it took android manufacturers many years to catch up with Apple as far as the reliability and reputation of their smartphones was concerned.We are now more than 13 years past the launch of the first iPhone and smartphone both from the side of android and Apple have evolved a lot. Today’s smartphones are no longer just a combination of a regular phone, a music playing device and an internet communicator. They are now portable gaming consoles, portable video players, a hub of music streaming services and many more. The evolution of smartphone displays have also increasingly led to them being perceived as digital image frames and image galleries which a user can carry in his or her pocket. Here lies the relevance and market for wallpaper apps.

Google Playstore especially is filled with wallpaper apps that offers wallpapers in various categories whether it be abstract, scenery, buildings, superheroes, colours, patterns and many other categories. Apps like Starless, Walli, WallP, Abstruct, Backdrops etc are examples. Ukiyo E on the other hand is a wallpaper app that offers wallpapers in only one category and that category is the japanese woodblock printing from 17th to 19th centuries.

Woodblock printing refers to a method of printing in textiles and paper used in China from the time of 220 AD. The genre of woodblock printing known as Ukiyo E began in China during the time of Tokugawa Shogunate in 17th century AD. The themes of Tokugawa painting included portraying beautiful courtesans, famous actors, romantic landscapes, city life and erotic scenes. Some of the famous Ukiyo E printmakers included Ando Hiroshige, Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Toyokuni III and Keisai Eisen. During the late nineteenth century, Ukiyo E became the face of Japanese art in the West. It influenced impressionist painters such as Edouard Manet, Claude Monet as well as Post impressionists such as Vincent Vangogh as well as Art Nouveau artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec.

The app has arranged its wallpapers primarily into two categories, the time frame of Ukiyo E artwork as well as the contributions of various individual artists. The following are the various time frames

1780-1804

1804-1868

1868-1912

1915-1940s

Some of the Ukiyo E artists featured in the app include Toshusai Sharaku, Kitagawa Utamaro, Utagawa Kunimasa, Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Kunisada, Kasamatso Shiro nad many others.

The app does not come with any in app purchases, however the app displays ads in the bottom corner of the page in a tiny strip. Those ads are by Google which the user has the option to turn off.

Overall, Ukiyo E is one of the most unique wallpaper apps that is available on both the Google Play Store and Apple Store (only for iPhones in the Apple store).

P.S: This review is about the Ukiyo E app by ‘dolice.net’. There are a number of apps featuring Ukiyo E wallpapers currently in the Google Play Store.

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