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 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 scene depicting the chance meeting of the poet Saigyo and his wife after he had become a monk. She kneels at his feet, clutching him by the arms, astonished to cross his path while out walking. He looks down at her with a sorrowful expression, his life now devoted to Buddha after renouncing the material world. He wears a simple gray robe with a traditional monk's mantle tied over one shoulder. Tall grasses wave in the wind, creating a lonely atmospheric setting for the encounter. Nicely detailed with fine line work. This image appears on page 39 of Helen Merritt and Nanako Yamada's recent book, "Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture." A handsome illustration for the novel "Stories of Two Days: That Day."
Artist - Toshikata (1866 - 1908)
Image Size - 8 1/2" x 11 1/4" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Slight paper remnants on reverse at top corners from previous mounting. Vertical folds. Slight thinning at corner, repaired. Slight toning and soiling, a few spots and creases at edges. Please see photos for details.
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