Kuchi-e Woodblock Print

   Kuchi-e Woodblock Print
  Kuchi-e Woodblock Print(detail)

Way back in March we drew your attention to a certain kind of Japanese woodblock print called Kuchi-e (pronounced koo-chee-eee), which means “mouth picture.” Kuchi-e were created as frontispieces for popular romantic novels written during the latter part of the 19th century through the very beginning of the 20th. The stories almost always dealt with the plight of a heroine in distress and the woodblocks were meant to capture the essence of the story in a single image.

Japanese Kuchi-e Woodblock Print   
Framed Kuchi-e Woodblock Print

This spotlight features a Kuchi-e titled “Cliffhanger.” In this image the heroine is being clutched by a mustachioed man as he slides down a rope off a cliff. Who is this man and what’s he doing? If he’s saving her, he’s a hero, maybe her lover. If he’s kidnapping her, he’s a thief and a scoundrel, maybe even a mercenary. It’s up to you to decide. This print reminds us most things are a matter of viewpoint, which is as true today as it was in old Japan. Our viewpoint: the heroine is being saved.

(Call to inquire)