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 design of a young beauty dozing, daydreaming of the great monkey king Songaku, a hero from the epic Chinese novel "Journey to the West," a tale that became popular in Japan. She leans against a wooden pillar, one hand tucked inside her delicately patterned blue-violet kimono. The monkey king appears at left in a swirling cloud, peering through the streamers of a decorative hanging, wearing a green robe with a fur mantle tied around his waist, a slender rod in his hand. A fascinating subject for the novel "Fukuro Monogatari" (An Owl's Story) by Izumi Kyoka, detailed with subtle burnishing on the beauty's hair.
Artist - Takeuchi Keishu (1847 - 1915)
Image Size - 8 1/4" x 11 1/8"
Condition - This print with nice color and detail as shown. Backed with somewhat stiff paper. Folds. Some prints have wrinkling or a few spots. Please see photos for details.
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