Japanese color woodblock prints ("ukiyo-e") from the Edo (1615-1868) and Meiji periods (1868- 1912) are among the most celebrated examples of color printmaking in the world. Full-color prints became technically and commercially viable around 1765. Traditional ukiyo-e colorants were watersoluble, uniform, translucent, organic (vegetal) and inorganic pigments of very small particle size. (Synthetic colorants were also introduced from the West in the 19th C, probably beginning with "Prussian blue" in the 1820s.) A pigment was applied with a brush to a color block, and then rice flour paste was mixed with the pigment to thicken it, facilitate control and rubbing into the paper, improve the uniformity of the colorant, and avoid a dry or granular texture. The dampened paper, sized with cooked bovine skins and alum, was then placed on the block (aligning with registration marks cut into the blocks). The colorants were then pressed into the paper by rubbing a bamboo pad against the back of the paper so that the colors were absorbed on the front surface.