Another fascinating print exhibition at Bayly is Universes in Collision: 19th Century Japanese Prints, again showing a large number of images.
Curator Stephen Margulies' background statement is worth reading - some quotes here:
"With cynicism, commercial canniness, and sincere poetry, the great color woodblock artists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries both exploited and identified with women. They celebrated and advertised "the floating world," the world of Kabuki theater and the pleasure district (especially in Edo, the capital, now Tokyo)."
"Role-reversal was the norm in "the floating world," as courtesans became noble through self-sacrifice and weak males cringed before the necessity of love. On the stage, males took on women's roles (though Kabuki was founded by a woman). Such men were seductive to both sexes. On stage and in expensive bordellos and in woodblock prints, there was a complexly tender and violent play of identity."
Related to this I discovered Mysterium has just posted about a web companion to a PBS program Japan: Memoirs of a Secret Empire. Features include interactive pages on musical intruments and, just in time for this post, Japanese woodblock printing. Check out the additional links, especially The Production of Japanese Woodblock Prints.