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 - Unusual kuchi-e image of a young beauty trying to restrain the potter Wankyu Kyuemon who seems to rather dazed, stumbling along with his hands thrown out at his sides, his hair disheveled. A worried expression on her face, the young woman ducks as she takes hold of one arm, her other hand on his leg. Wankyu Kyuemon tricked an elderly potter into telling him the secret for producing gold-painted porcelain, which he then began to make himself to even greater acclaim. After the elderly potter was executed for revealing a trade secret, Kyuemon went mad with guilt. An expressive design for the novel "Wankyu Monogatari" (The Story of Wankyu Kyuemon).
Artist - Tomioka Eisen (1864 - 1905)
Image Size - 8 3/8" x 11 1/4"
Condition - This print with good color and detail as shown. Backed with paper. Vertical and diagonal folds, creasing. Please see photos for details.
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