Original Meiji era Japanese Woodblock Print
Beauty with a Fox Mask Kuchi-e Print
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 - Fascinating kuchi-e scene of a beauty appearing in a cloud of smoke rising from a brazier, a fox mask in her hand and the red pillar of a torii gate behind her. The man at right looks up at the apparition with a frown as he comforts a weeping woman collapsed at his side, his hand resting atop her back. The folding screen behind them depicts a carriage, and pine branches frame the night sky above. Beautifully detailed with delicate cloth embossing on the white kimono at lower right and the background of the screen. A fascinating supernatural subject.
Artist - Meiji era artist (unsigned)
Image Size - 8 3/8" x 10 3/4"
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Vertical folds. A few small losses and tears at edges, a few thinning spots, repaired. Slight toning, a few creases and marks, red rectangular seal at upper right. Please see photos for details.