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 - Charming kuchi-e illustration for a novel called "Yatsuhashi," which means "eight bridges" but is also the name of a popular cinnamon cookie from Kyoto. Here, a beauty strolls through an iris garden, lost in her thoughts. She wears a gray kimono with soft orange stripes, tied with a white obi patterned with waterwheels. Slender leaves and iris blossoms fill the background. A charming design.
Artist - Kajita Hanko (1870 - 1917)
Image Size - 12 1/8" x 8 1/2" + left margin as shown.
Condition - This print with excellent detail as shown. Horizontal and diagonal folds. Slight thinning on reverse at top corners from previous mounting, a couple small tears at edges, repaired. Creasing, slight toning and soiling, a few spots. Please see photos for details.
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