Kabuki Portraits by Tsuruya Kokei - Fantastic modern kabuki portrait by the contemporary artist Tsuruya Kokei. His bold images follow in the ukiyo-e tradition of okubi-e or "large head" portraits, featuring stylized close-ups of actors' faces and hands, focusing on intense emotions. Kokei frequently uses a monochromatic, black, white, and gray color scheme, conveying a range of textures and shades through intricate carving and the strong use of wood grain impression. Other prints include the use of mica, or metallic gold or silver powders, adding richness. His expressive, exaggerated characters give an impression of vitality and immediacy with a contemporary twist, creating striking and memorable portraits. Kokei stopped designing prints in 2000, completing his 200th print in the bust portrait series that year.
Each design is self-carved and printed by the artist on very thin, almost translucent Japanese ganpi paper. This delicate paper presents technical difficulties, showcasing Kokei's incredible mastery of the woodblock printing process. These limited editions are hand numbered in black ink on top of the artist's red seal. After completing each addition, Kokei destroyed the blocks, ensuring that no additional prints could be made. His powerful creations are a terrific choice for a kabuki enthusiast or sosaku hanga collector.
Comments - Date - July 1987
Special detail - Gold mica on the background.
Artist - Tsuruya Kokei (born 1946)
Image Size - 15 3/8” x 9 3/8”
Condition - Excellent overall with no issues to report.