Original Tomioka Eisen (1864 - 1905) Japanese Woodblock Print COMMENT: 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 of 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 always have two folds, because of their insertion in a magazine or book as an illustrative print.A previously neglected genre of Japanese woodblock art, much interest has been generated in the subject since the publication in 2000 of Helen Merritt and Nanako Yamada's groundbreaking book, "Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture." Kuchi-e prints have become highly sought after and collected by the serious collector.Handsome kuchi-e illustration for the novel "Miyama gakure" (Hidden in Deep Mountains). A teacher has visited the country, falling in love with the young beauty Osen and promising to return to her, although his family has already arranged a marriage for him. Osen looks down with a sad expression, arranging a scarf over her head to protect her hairstyle while working. The circular inset shows the teacher in Western clothing, wearing a jacket, vest, tie, and hat. Their contrast in dress indicates their contrast in lifestyles, that of a city dweller and a rural girl. An attractive design. This image appears on page 113 in Helen Merritt and Nanako Yamada's recent book, "Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture."8 3/4" x 11 1/2"
This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Two folds. Toning, some light spotting. Please see photos for details. Good overall.