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 - Terrific kuchi-e portrait of a disheveled warrior after a battle, gripping a bloody spear and looking back over his shoulder. A broken arrow protrudes from his shoulder, and blood trickles from a wound to his forehead. A circular inset at left shows a worried beauty looking down at him, one hand resting on the edge of the inset, adding a sense of dimension. The background shows a castle in soft gray silhouette. Great detail in this expressive figure, with burnishing on the beauty's hair and the armor and weapons. A rarely seen kuchi-e design.
Artist - Tomioka Eisen (1864 - 1905)
Image Size - 8 1/2" x 11" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with nice color and detail as shown. Vertical folds. A few creases and spots. Please see photos for details.
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