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 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 - Interesting kuchi-e scene of a seated beauty looking down with a pensive expression, her eyes nearly closed, a slender pipe in one hand. She wears a pair of striped kimono over a blue under robe with a delicate white floral design, her hair adorned with a comb and a purple ribbon. A vase on the wall behind her holds blossoming plum branches. An inset at right shows a couple strolling along the bank of a river, the water rushing past numerous large stones. Both are bundled up against the cool early spring weather, the beauty wearing a fringed shawl and head scarf while the man wears a Western style coat with a hood and a hat. A fascinating design, with the vertical red pole providing a physical separation between the beauty and the subject of her thoughts. Nicely detailed with burnishing on the beauty's hair.
Artist - Takeuchi Keishu (1861 - 1942)
Image Size - 8 3/8" x 10 7/8"
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Stitching holes along vertical centerfold, repaired. Creasing, slight toning and soiling. Please see photos for details.
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