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 - Lovely kuchi-e illustration for the novel "Yuriko" of a beauty carrying an umbrella, wearing a light blue outer robe over a gray striped kimono and a darker blue under robe patterned with white lilies. Her hair is softly pulled back and adorned with a white ribbon and ornament. Lightly shaded palm or fern leaves fill the background, suggesting a garden setting. Nicely detailed with burnishing on the hair. A classic shin-hanga beauty portrait, and the first time we have seen this subject.
Artist - Kiyokata Kaburagi (1878 - 1972)
Image Size - 10 1/4" x 7 3/4" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent detail as shown. Horizontal folds. Toning, wrinkling at bottom edge. Please see photos for details.
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