Start at the top of the page here. Look at the Ukiyo-e print and try to figure out what’s happening in it. Then scroll down.
I’ve seen some very facile explanations of old undocumented art—what’s going on in it, what it means. I’m not saying those explanations were wrong. I’m saying that very little art has ever been made that can’t instantly be transformed by changing its context. I once read about a guy who was looking at an exceptionally scary piece of Buddhist religious art which showed a huge and imaginatively detailed monster stomping a helpless little human figure. He asked his guide what the picture signified. His guide explained that it was a picture of what enlightenment looks like to the ego before it happens.
Is a good, evocative picture worth a thousand words? Sure it is. It’s just that when it’s by itself, you can’t be sure which thousand words they are.