The Kuchi-e Tradition - Kuchi-e prints are woodblock frontispiece illustrations used in the publication of Japanese novels and magazines around the turn of the 20th century. Most kuchi-e prints were illustrations of bijin and continued the tradition of idealized beauties in Japanese art. The subjects, however, have a decidedly Meiji era feel about them and reflect the artistic movement towards more western design. Kuchi-e prints typically have one or two folds because of their use.
Much interest has been generated in the subject since the publication in 2000 of Helen Merritt and Nanako Yamada's book, "Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture." Kuchi-e prints have become highly sought after and collected by the serious collector.
Comments - Intriguing kuchi-e scene of a rather distraught beauty looking over her shoulder as a mirage appears in a cloud of smoke issuing from an ink bottle. The dream features characters from otsu-e, traditional simple folk paintings sold to travelers in Otsu on Lake Biwa near Kyoto. The figures include a yakko or standard bearer, a falconer, and the Wisteria Maiden, all being chased by a small white dog. An officer's cap lies next to the ink bottle and pen. A fascinating image for the novel "A Beauty's Mirage" (Bijin shinkiro no zue). Includes burnishing on the cap's visor and embossing on the fan.
Artist - Shoso Mishima (1856 - 1928)
Image Size - 8 3/4" x 11"
Condition - This print with nice color and detail as shown. Paper remnants on reverse along vertical centerfold and side from original publisher mounting. A few creases, a couple stains. Please see photos for details.
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