Original Meiji era Japanese Woodblock Print
The Beginning of Sumo Kuchi-e Print, 1909
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 - Interesting kuchi-e depiction of the beginning of the sport of sumo. The fellow at right has tossed his opponent to the ground, sending him sprawling face first. The figures are depicted as if on a page with the corner turned back at lower right to reveal the straw border of a sumo ring. Nice expressive figures. The first time we've offered this kuchi-e subject.
Artist - Meiji era artist (not read)
Image Size - 8" x 10 1/2"
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Vertical folds. Slight paper remnants on reverse at edges from previous backing. Slight toning and soiling, creasing and staining at edges. Please see photos for details.