The pretty girl on the beach, standing and posing in a striped swimsuit and a straw hat, is undoubtedly the most representative icon of the kuchi-e (口絵) movement, as well as the most sought-after woodblock print among collectors of this specific genre. The work, made in 1903 by the artist Terasaki Kogyo (寺崎広業), is an interesting testimony of how in the early 20th century Japanese prints began to diverge from some traditional subjects such as for example, in the case of women at the sea, the divers for abalone and pearls, to depict new themes in step with the times, such as recreational sea bathing.
The precious woodblock print, entitled “Bijin no Kaisuiyoku” (美人の海水浴), that is “Sea-Bathing Beauty”, is taken from vol. 9 n. 10, special issue (増刊) of July, 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 wrinkles and a small tear on the lower left corner, is in overall fair condition.