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 - Attractive kuchi-e design of a young beauty enjoying a stroll accompanied by an older woman holding an umbrella. She pauses before a stone lion rendered in soft shades of gray, holding her fan as she looks over her shoulder. Fine delicate burnished line work in the beauty's hair and to delineate the umbrella ribs. A lovely image with a striking composition, in a nice large format reprint.
Woodblock reprints - In the 20th century, artists and publishers collaborated to recreate famous woodblock prints for interested Japanese collectors and Westerners looking for rare designs. New blocks were made, and the prints were painstakingly printed by artisan printers in the same method as the 19th century originals - one block for each color. Woodblock reprints were an opportunity to collect and enjoy a famous design at a small fraction of the price of an original. They still are today.
Artist - Toshikata (1866 - 1908)
Image Size - 9 1/2" x 14 1/4" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. A couple small spots. Please see photos for details.