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 - Attractive kuchi-e illustration for the novel "Marici Bodhisattva" (Marishiten). A beauty is visiting the temple dedicated to the Buddhist bodhisattva Marici, whose emblem is the boar. She walks past a large container for offerings emblazoned with a boar, which was also the zodiac symbol for 1911, and a swastika with left-facing arms, an ancient symbol of good fortune. The container is topped with stacked pails of water for firefighting. She wears a bright blue coat with a striped scarf wrapped around her neck, her hair pulled softly back into a large bun. A lovely portrait with a sweetly expressive face. This image appears on page 147 of Merritt and Yamada's book, "Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture."
Artist - Takeuchi Keishu (1847 - 1915)
Image Size - 11 3/4" x 8 1/2" + left margin as shown
Condition - This print with nice color and detail as shown. Horizontal folds. A few creases. Please see photos for details.
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