by Gekko (1859 - 1920)
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 typcially have one or two vertical folds, because of their insertion in a magazine or book as an illustrative print.
Much interest has been generated in the subject since the publication in 2000 of Helen Merritt and Nanako Yamada's groundbreaking book, "Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture." Kuchi-e prints have become highly sought after and collected by the serious collector.
Comments - Charming design of a beauty watching two fluttering birds alongside an iris garden. One hand resting against a wooden trellis, she looks down at the birds, her other hand held behind her back. She wears a pale blue kimono with barely silver mica swirls, tied with a boldly patterned black and red obi. Irises blossom at the water's edge, the flowers a soft purple above slender green leaves, the water detailed with silvery mica. An attractive summer design for the novel "Hana ayama." This image appears on page 25 of Helen Merritt and Nanako Yamada's recent book, "Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture."
Artist - Gekko (1859 - 1920)
Image Size - 12 3/4" x 8 1/2" + left margin as shown
Condition - This print with excellent detail as shown. Two folds. Creasing, slight toning and soiling, a few spots. Please see photos for details.
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