In the kuchi-e (口絵) woodblock print titled “Dawn” (あかつき) by Takeuchi Keishu (武内桂舟), a mouse, the zodiac sign for 1912, is perched atop the stand for an oil lamp. A young woman reads a letter by light from the lamp. Plum blossoms, in anticipation of spring, and cranes, symbols for long life, decorate her outer kimono. Both her hairstyle and the patterns on her kimono are reminiscent of the Genroku era (元禄), a golden age of culture in the Edo period (江戸時代). They reflect a revitalized interest in ukiyo-e (浮世絵) that was stimulated by artists who had returned from study in Europe where they learned of the high regard enjoyed by Japanese prints abroad (cf. Helen Merritt – Nanako Yamada, Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints, 2000, University of Hawaii Press, p. 147).
The work, made in January 1912, is taken from vol. 18 n. 1 of Bungei Kurabu (文芸倶楽部), the famous literary magazine published from 1895 to 1933 by the Hakubunkan (博文館) publishing house.
The print on Japanese washi paper (和紙), despite the right signs of aging including slight wrinkles as well as a partial trimming of the margins, is in overall very good condition.