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 - Handsome kuchi-e illustration of a beauty stretching tie-dyed cloth out to dry, smoothing the fabric against a board with a ringed hand. She looks up over her shoulder as a cuckoo flies past high in the sky, a harbinger of summer. The sleeves of her gray floral kimono are tied back with a pink sash, and she wears a purple apron to protect her robe. Her hair is softly pulled back into a loose bun adorned with a comb and a couple simple ornaments, a few wisps framing her face. A charming subject, nicely detailed. This image appears on page 165 of Merritt and Yamada's "Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture."
Artist - Suzuki Kason (1860 - 1919)
Image Size - 11 5/8" x 8 1/2"
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Backed with paper. Horizontal folds. Slight ink offsetting, a couple small spots. Please see photos for details. Nice overall.