Original Meiji era Japanese Woodblock Print
Beauty with a Miniature Hot Air Balloon 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 - Lovely kuchi-e illustration of two beauties in a garden. The woman at right holds a miniature hot air balloon with a small Japanese flag flying from the basket. She smiles up at her companion, who holds a decorated battledore for a game similar to badminton that is traditionally played at New Year's. A blossoming plum tree and stone lantern frame the scene at left. A charming and unusual subject.
Artist - Meiji era artist (unsigned)
Image Size - 8 1/2" x 10 1/4"
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Vertical and diagonal folds. A few small holes, repaired. Creasing, slight soiling, writing on reverse in pen at side. Please see photos for details.