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 of a young couple sitting together on a bench in a temple garden, reunited many years after parting. As children, the pair had pledged to marry each other, but the woman was forced by her family to marry an aristocrat instead. The beauty Takeo smiles at her former companion, giving him her full attention as she turns to look at him, but Gon'chi remains unhappy, his chin tilted defiantly up into the air. A crescent moon is visible beyond the tall tree trunks, and grasses and foliage frame the scene. The beauty's bright blue obi and peach handkerchief add a splash of color to the soft grays of the night scene. A nicely detailed and shaded kuchi-e illustration for the novel "Shinobine" (Whispering Sound). This image appears on page 123 in Merritt and Yamada's book, "Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture."
Artist - Toshikata (1866 - 1908)
Image Size - 8 3/4" x 11 5/8"
Condition - This print with nice detail as shown. Vertical folds. A few spots. Please see photos for details.
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