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 showing a captive samurai tied to a tree, with a beauty pictured in a rectangular inset at right with the corner folded over. The samurai's hands around bound behind his back with a narrow rope, and he looks out with a determined expression, his lips firmly set. His hair is rather disheveled, with loose wisps framing his face and neck, and he wears a black kimono tucked into striped hakama pants. The beauty wears a green and gray robe, looking back over her shoulder as if at the samurai. Her hair is pulled into a large bun adorned with a comb, floral hairpin, and ribbon. A fascinating subject, nicely detailed with burnishing in the woman's hair and diamond patterned embossing in the inset.
Artist - Eisen Tomioka (1864 - 1905)
Image Size - 8 3/4" x 11 3/8"
Condition - With excellent color and detail. Two light creases. Backed with paper. Faint soiling. Please see photos for details. Very nice overall.
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