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.
Comments - Attractive design for the novel "Buncho" (Java Sparrow) of a beauty offering a green leaf to a pet Java sparrow in a cage. She is dressed in a heavy gray kimono appropriate for late winter, yet a few delicate willow branches hanging overhead have new green leaves, a sign of spring approaching. Her hair is smoothed back into a large bun adorned with a comb and a blue and white dotted ribbon. This image appears on page 135 of Merritt and Yamada's book, "Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture." A handsome composition.
Artist - Ryuu Shimazaki (1856 - 1938)
Image Size - 11 3/4" x 8 3/4" + left margin as shown
Condition - This print with good color and detail as shown. Horizontal folds. Slight creasing. Please see photos for details.
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