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 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.
Whispering Kuchi-e Print, 1897 - Attractive kuchi-e scene of a young couple deep in conservation during a moonlit meeting along the water's edge. The beauty seems somewhat concerned as she looks down at her companion, who crouches beside her. A full moon glows in the night sky, with the outline of the city in soft gray silhouette in the distance at right. A handsome, rarely seen design, nicely detailed with burnishing on the beauty's hair and the black kimono collar.
Artist - Tomioka Eisen (1864 - 1905)
Image Size - 8 3/4" x 11 5/8" + right margin as shown
Condition - This print with good color and detail as shown. Vertical folds. A couple creases at edges. Please see photos for details.
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