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 - Intriguing kuchi-e illustration for the novel "Tangled Hair" (Midaregami) of a beauty holding a small box wrapped in cloth, a sorrowful look on her face. The image at left shows a westerner with eyeglasses, coat, vest, and necktie in conversation with a matron behind a window with bamboo bars. An interesting format with the beauty set against what looks like a sheet of paper with the edge curling over. A lovely expressive face on the beauty, nicely detailed with burnishing on the hair.
Artist - Tomioka Eisen (1864 - 1905)
Image Size - 8 5/8" x 10 1/2"
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Horizontal and vertical folds. Small loss at edge, hole, repaired. Wrinkling throughout, slight soiling. Please see photos for details.
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