Kaburagi Kiyokata: Kuchi-e print of a man performing a dance

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Artist: Kaburagi Kiyokata (1878-1973)
Title: Kuchi-e print of a man performing a dance
Date: 1911

Kiyokata was a Nihonga painter and illustrator who specialized in bijin-ga, pictures of beautiful women. The largest output for his prints was for kuchi-e, or frontispiece illustrations for literary magazines and serialized novels. His most famous student was the landscape artist Kawase Hasui. This is a frontispiece illustration (kuchi-e) that was included with a novel in the Bungei Club (Bungei kurabu) magazine, volume 16-1. It features a man performing a dance while holding a staff; his hairstyle seems to be from the 1600s. Bungei kurabu was published by Hakubunkan, who published both literary magazines and novels. Bungei kurabu included nishiki-e both as kuchi-e illustrations for lead stories, but also as independent images that bore no relations to the stories. This kuchi-e is of a very unusual format in that it is about twice the size of most kuchi-e prints.

Condition: Excellent impression and color; very good condition. With folds, as always with this format and some minor wrinkles. One spot in upper right.

Dimensions: 50 x 19 cm

References: For information about Bungei kurabu, see “Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints” by Merritt and Yamada (2000), pages 14-15.