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.
Verses in Freedom Kuchi-e Print, 1896 - Attractive kuchi-e illustration from a series titled "Encyclopedias for Daily Use" of a Chinese couple standing outside a palace, the beauty embracing her lover with a sweet smile, her eyes closed. Her red gown provides a bright note of color against his light blue robe and the subdued landscape settings, the fenced yard overlooking a river. The scene illustrates a verse by the Chinese poet Meng Jiao:
You wish to go, and yet your robe I hold
Where are you going, tell me dear, today?
Your late returning does not anger me,
But that another steal your heart away.
A charming and rarely seen design, nicely detailed with burnishing on the woman's hair.
Artist - Terasaki Kogyo (1866 - 1919)
Image Size - 7 7/8" x 10 7/8" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with good color and detail as shown. Vertical folds. A couple creases at edges, light stain. Please see photos for details.
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