The Japanese movement of printmaking known as Sōsaku Hanga (“Creative Prints”) received a tremendous boost after World War II from the patronage of collectors associated with the US military. One appeal of Sōsaku prints by Munakata Shikō, Saitō Kiyoshi, Azechi Umetarō, and Maeda Senpan, among others, was their woody sensibility, or ligneous aesthetic. Human figures rendered like pieces of woodcraft and abstract passages of wood-grain printing intrigued American enthusiasts such as James A. Michener and Oliver Statler. The ligneous aesthetic was appreciated for evoking alluring qualities of ancient Japan as well as for its impressive sense of modernity.

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