N.1 kuchi-e woodblock print
Year: 1899
Condition: very good
Size: 29,5 x 22 cm



Beautiful original woodblock print of the kuchi-e (口絵) type taken from vol. 5 n. 4 of the literary magazine Bungei Kurabu (文芸倶楽部). The work was made by the artist Tomioka Eisen (富岡永洗) as the frontispiece of the novel “Murasaki Hifu” (紫被布), literally “The Purple Overcoat”, by Hirotsu Ryuro (広津柳浪), the famous writer who is credited with the creation of the “hisan shosetsu” (悲惨小説), ie “tragic novel”, genre in Japanese literature.

Tomioka Eisen (1864 – 1905), a pupil of Kobayashi Eitaku (小林永濯), began working as a freelance artist when he was still a draughtsman in the imperial army. After the disappearance of his master, he devoted himself entirely to his artistic career and became a very appreciated and well-paid magazine illustrator. He died only forty-one years old, when the kuchi-e movement was in full bloom.

The print on Japanese washi paper (和紙), produced in March 1899 by the Hakubunkan (博文館) publishing house, despite the right signs of aging, is in very good general condition.