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 - Beautiful design of the young beauty Onene lost in thought, her chin resting on her hands as she looks down sadly. In love with another woman, her husband has lied to her, telling her that a powerful daimyo has ordered them to be divorced. She feels that she has no choice but to accept his arguments, even though she knows they are not true. She is wrapped in a soft plum outer kimono with white insets featuring delicate blossoms in gray and tiny colorful geometric shapes, trimmed with a red collar. The lamp beside her also features grasses on the paper shade, and a wisp of smoke rises from an incense burner set on a small red lacquer stand. This image appears as plate 3.12 in Helen Merritt and Nanako Yamada's book, "Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture." A lovely, poignant portrait from the novel "A Wife's Heart" (Tsuma no Kokoro).
Artist - Tomioka Eisen (1864 - 1905)
Image Size - 8 3/8" x 11 3/8" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Vertical folds. Toning, a few light creases and marks. Please see photos for details.
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