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Dealing in fine Japanese prints, paintings and books since 1968.

 

Santo KYODEN (Kitao MASANOBU) (1761-1816)




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A pair of original paintings, full colour on silk, image size 38.5 x 15.5 in; 97.75 x 39.5 cms. Shows a courtesan on the left with a portrait of a novelist on the right. The paintings are signed “By special request” and were presumably commissioned by the novelist showing his paramour. I have not identified the novelist. Masanobu was a pupil of Shigemasa and was one of the leading authors and illustrators of kibyoshi, ehon and kyoka anthologies as well as being a painter and print artist. He illustrated the fine set of double-oban prints of courtesans in 1783-4: Yoshiwara keisai shin bijin awase jihitsu kagami. These painting must come from around this date as the pose of the courtesan is very similar to some of the figures in the above album. A controversial figure who ran foul of the authorities in 1789, subsequently ceasing to use the name Kitao Masanobu and thereafter his paintings are always spontaneous in an abbreviated style, often quite slight and signed Kyoden. Paintings fully finished like this are rare. In generally very good condition, although some loss of gofun. Signed Oju Kyoden Masanobu ga on each painting.

 

 

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TORII School (c. late 1750’s)




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An original painting, full colour on paper with gold additions, image size 30 x 10 in; 76 x 25.5 cms. Shows a beauty holding up a puppet of the actor Bando Hikosaburo II. Painted c. late 1750s and possibly by Torii Kiyomitsu. In good condition with seal Torii.

 

 

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Hishikawa MOROSHIGE (Fl. 1684-1704)




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An original painting, sumi and full colour on paper, 24 x 12 in; 61 x 30.5 cms. Shows a beautiful youth (a wakashu) dressed as a girl with his attendant servant. These youths (identified as male by wearing a sword) were arbiters of trend-setting kimono design. They are sometimes referred to as the “third gender,” and were sexually ambiguous being objects of desire to both adult men and women. Moroshige was the senior pupil of Hishikawa Moronobu, and, it is said, was the father of Furuyama Moromasa. Some toning of paper and slight loss of pigment, but all commensurate with a painting of this age. Otherwise good condition. Painted around 1700.

 

 

Signed Hishikawa Moroshige zu with seal Moroshige. A fine and interesting painting.

 

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)



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A courtesan biting on a tissue about to write a love letter from the set Ukiyoe jinsei tengankyo, “Types of the Floating World Seen Through a Physiognomist’s Glass.” The glass top right. These professionals who purported to look at people’s features and give counsel based on their countenance were called Ninsomi or simply Somi. This set of ten prints showing different female personalities have their characteristics written up above. Utamaro produced two fine sets based on this theme in 1792-4 and c 1802: Fuji ninso jupon and Bijin gomenso. The clenching of the tissue is always an indication of arousal. Published c 1830 by Moriya Jihei (Kinshindo).

 

Fine impression with blind-printing. Fine colour. Small repaired binding holes and very slight trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Keisai EISEN (1790-1848)



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An amorous couple beside a screen decorated with a large chrysanthemum. From a set of twelve prints Keisei higo, “Secret Words of a Courtesan” published c 1822-25. Although coming under the heading of shunga, each print is an abuna-e design, without any graphic detail. Shows a courtesan with her client. She turns to tie the iwata-sash which indicates she is pregnant.

 

Fine impression. Very fine colour. Fine condition.

 

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI II (1777-1835)




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An aizuri (blue) print from a set Tosei bijin hana-awase, “Beauties of the Latest Fashion Compared to the Beauty of Flowers.” In this case kikyo flowers – the Chinese bellflower. Aizuri prints were the outcome of avoiding intermittent edicts promulgated by the bakufu prohibiting the number of blocks that could be used. The aim being to curb excesses, raise moral standards and encourage thrift. Published by Shimizo, c. late 1820s. Three other prints from set are in the Brooklyn Museum of Art, 76.151.13; 14; 15.

 

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

 

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Katsushika HOKUSAI (1760-1849)




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An important large brush drawing in red ink showing a full length figure wielding a stave at a cowering adversary. The standing figure has no sword or armour but is obviously a chivalrous man of great probity. The leaning attitude of the upright figure is typical of Hokusai (for example, see Theodore Bowie, Indiana University Press, 1974, The Drawings of Hokusai, no. 108) and gives movement to what otherwise would be a static pose. Red ink was frequently used by Hokusai, not just on the obvious Shoki paintings (see nos. 160-161, pages 254-5, Timothy Clark, Hokusai Beyond The Great Wave, B.M., 2017) but as underdrawing on figures and landscapes (see nos. 178-182, pages 279-283, Timothy Clark, Hokusai Beyond The Great Wave, B.M., 2017). Red ink and wash on thin Japanese paper laid onto european paper, image area 16.5 x 15.5 in; 41.5 x 39.5 cms. An area not pertinent to the design missing top right but otherwise in good condition. Provenance: Ex collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller (inventory number 23.040).

 

 

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Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Seki and Kameyama from the chuban Muraichi Tokaido. The set of 56 prints published by Muraichi, 1852. Printed two-to-a-sheet uncut and probably from a complete proof set. Double censor’s seals Murata and Kinugasa and date seal 2ic/1852 top right.

 

 

Fine impressions with strong woodgrain showing. Fine colour. Very small binding holes in right border, otherwise fine condition. Signed Hiroshige ga on each print.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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A snow scene: Yushima Tenjin sakaue chobo, “Hilltop View, Yushima Tenjin Shrine.” The shrine is dedicated to scholars and is near Ueno Park. From the set Meisho Edo hyakkei, “One Hundred Views of Edo.” The set published by Uoya Eikichi 1856-58 (this being 1856). The set comprises 118 prints by Hiroshige and another by Hiroshige II. However, three prints are dated 10/1858, the month following Hiroshige’s death, and these are thought to be by Hiroshige II as well. They are: Ueno Yamashita, Ichigaya Hachiman and Bikunibashi.

 

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Hiroshige hitsu.

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Travellers viewing Mount Asama. Usui-toge yori Asama o miru zu, “A View of Mount Asama from Usui Pass.” From Kuniyoshi’s best landscape set. Of the utmost rarity with most extant impressions differing. This and the impression in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, are similar, without the smoke coming from the cone of Asama (the most active volcano on Honshu). Other impressions are in: The British Museum, 1948, 0410, 0. 108, which has gradation up the left side of the mountain; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, JP 1424, which has gradation down from the summit; and Worcester Art Museum which is similar to the Mets, 1901. 692. Published by Yamaguchiya Tobei, c. 1836.

 

 

Very good impression, colour and condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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Tosa, kaijo katsuo tsuri, “Tosa [Province], Bonito Fishing at Sea.” From a set of 69 prints [Dai Nihon] Rokujuyoshu meisho zue, “Famous Places in the Sixty-odd Provinces [of Japan]” published by Koshihei between 1853 and 1856, this being 1855. Tosa, located on the southern coast of the island of Shikoku, was famous for its bonito.

 

 

Very fine impression of the first edition. Fine colour and condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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An o-tanzaku print, Yugao chapter from the fifty-four chapters of Genji, the Genji Monogatari. A tenth century romance written by Murasaki Shikibu. From a set Buyu nazoraye Genji, “Heroic Comparisons for the Chapters of Genji.” In this case showing Benkei creeping up on Ushiwaka on Gojo Bridge in Kyoto. The story relates how Benkei only needs one more blade to add to the 999 he has wrenched from samurai attempting to cross the bridge in order to fashion an invincible weapon. Benkei loses the fight and becomes Yoshitsune’s loyal retainer. Published by Ibaya Sensaburo, c. 1843.

 

Fine impression and colour. Very good condition. Signed Cho-o-ro Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa YOSHIYUKI (Active 1848-1864)




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A triptych showing one of the great combats of the Gempei wars during the battle of Ichi-no-Tani to the west of Kobe in 1184. In the centre the Taira leader Satsuma no Kami Tadanori holds down the Minamoto Okabe Rokuyata Tadazumi. On the left Gennai Saemon Hidekata and on the right Adachi Saburo Munetaka. Tadanori was a renowned warrior and distinguished poet. Published by To c. 1848.

 

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Ichireisai Yoshiyuki ga.

 

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1812-1866)



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The actor Ichikawa Kodanji IV as Torii Matasuke clenching a sword between his teeth in pouring rain. From the play Kagamiyama gonichi no Iwafuji performed at the Ichimura Theatre, 3/1860. The plot centres around Lord Taga who is disloyal to his wife Lady Ume with Oryu. One of Taga’s retainers, Motome, advises him against his actions and is dismissed. Meanwhile Oryu and her husband plan to take over Taga’s domain so a plot is hatched to kill her. However, Motome’s faithful servant, Matasuke, murders Lady Ume by mistake. The design shows Matasuke just prior to his mistake. Published by Kaku-Kin (Kakumotoya Kinjiro), 1860.

 

Fine impression and colour. Some minute restored binding holes and very slight trimming on right, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIMARO (Active 1850-1875)




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An oban showing Jiraiya (Ogata Shuma Hiroyuki), a ninja who was able to transmogrify himself into a giant toad. His arch enemy was Orochimaru, a master of serpent magic, who is seen here as a giant snake. Jiraiya kills the snake with his heavy o-zutsu, hand cannon. Based on a multi-volume book by Mizugakiya Egao, Jiraiya goketsu Monogatari, it went on to be a very successful Kabuki play performed at the Kawarazaki-za Theatre in 7/1852 with Ichikawa Danjuro VIII playing Jiraiya. Published by Daikokuya Heikichi, 8/1852.

 

 

Very fine impression. Fine colour. Slightly trimmed at bottom, otherwise very good condition. Signed Kunimaro ga.

 

 

Status: Available

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Mori SOSEN (1747-1821)


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An original painting, sumi and light colour on silk, image size 32 x 11.5 in; 81.3 x 29.2 cms. His life is not well documented but he is known to have studied under the Kano artist Yamamoto Joshunsai (? -1781) before being drawn into Mauyama Okyo’s (1735-1795) artistic circle and his style is more Shijo than anything else. His animal paintings were evidently highly valued by Okyo. He was an immediate favourite with eastern collectors because of his monkey paintings at which he excelled, although he was more versatile than literature implies and highly accomplished at drawing other animals. But his images of monkeys take precedence and he is considered the pre-eminent painter, east or west, on this subject. It is alleged that he lived in the woods for three years eating fruit and nuts to study the monkeys and other animals and is also supposed to have had a cage of monkeys at the back of his house to better observe them. Shows two Japanese macaque monkeys, known as the snow monkeys, eating chestnuts. Signed Sosen hitsu with seal Shusho. Minor cracks, otherwise very good condition.

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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Saito no Oniwakamuru from the set Ikkai zuihitsu, “A Miscellany by Ikkai.” (This being an early name of Yoshitoshi’s.) The young Saito Musashibo Benkei was given the moniker Oniwakamuru “Devil Child” because of his feats of strength and general behaviour. The episode depicted here, which was a popular theme for artists, shows the young Oniwakamaru battling a giant carp at the Bishamon Waterfall, where he has gone looking for his mother, Ohaya. On killing the carp, he discovers it has eaten his mother. A set published by Masadaya Heikichi, 1872-3 (this being 1872). Even amongst Yoshitoshi’s best work, this is an outstanding design.

 

Very fine impression of the first edition. Fine colour and condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu.

 

Status: Available

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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A fox priest from the set Tsuki hyakushi, the “Hundred Phases of the Moon.” The set published between 1885 and 1892 (this being 1886) by Akiyama Buemon. Based on the Kyogen farce Konkai, “A Foxe’s Cry” which tells of a hunter who is lectured on trapping foxes by his uncle, a priest. On his way home his uncle turns into his true form, a fox, and is snared in a trap. Yoshitoshi’s design shows the uncle transmogrifying into a fox. One of the best designs from the set.

 

Fine impression and colour from an early printing. The set was popular and many editions were printed and many late impressions exist. Great care was taken with the cutting of the blocks on this set and only early impressions do them justice. Fine colour and condition. An impression that has not been in an album. Full margins. Signed Yoshitoshi.

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Saginoike Heikuro from Honcho Suikoden goyu happyaku-nin no hitori, “Eight Hundred Heroes of our Country’s Suikoden, One by One.” Shows the brigand wrestling with a huge serpent at the Lake of Sayama (or Hazama) at Tondabayashi in the Province of Kawachi. Published by Ibaya Sensaburo, c 1845. (First issued by Kaga-ya Kichiyemon, c 1831, his seal just visible lower right corner.) Robinson S4b.4. A fine design.

 

Very good impression and colour. Full size. Slightly soiled bottom left, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Kyusempo Sakucho (Chin: Suo Chao) at the battle of Peking from Tsuzoku Suikoden goketsu hyaku-hachi-nin no hitori, “The Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Popular Suikoden, One by One.” Based on the Chinese novel Shui Hu Zhuan, attributed to Shi’Nai’an, which tells of a band of 108 brigands who operated from Liangshan Marsh. Shows the warrior wielding a huge axe and plunging through deep snow on his horse. He was renowned for being seven chi tall (just over seven and a half feet) and impetuous in battle, often charging ahead of his men – hence his nickname “Impatient Vanguard.” Published by Kaga-ya Kichiyemon, c 1827-30. Provenance: Ex B.W. Robinson collection. Robinson S2.44.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Full size (rare with designs from this set). Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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The warrior Hitentaisei Rikon (Chin: Li Gun) in armour and holding a hand spear (nage-yari) the use of which he excelled at. He scans the horizon from a craggy outcrop. From the set Tsuzoku Suikoden goketsu hyaku-hachi-nin no hitori, “The Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Popular Suikoden, One by One.” Based on the Chinese novel Shui Hu Zhuan, attributed to Shi’Nai’an, which tells of a band of 108 brigands who operated from Liangshan Marsh. Published by Kaga-ya Kichiyemon, c 1827-30. Robinson S2.21.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Full size (rare with designs from this set). Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Shows the warrior Chinsanzan Koshin (Chin: Huang Xin) holding the “Sword of Death.” His nickname was the “Guardian of the Three Mountains” because of his boast that he could easily eradicate the bandits from the three mountains in the Qingzhou region. . From the set Tsuzoku Suikoden goketsu hyaku-hachi-nin no hitori, “The Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Popular Suikoden, One by One.” Based on the Chinese novel Shui Hu Zhuan, attributed to Shi’Nai’an, which tells of a band of 108 brigands who operated from Liangshan Marsh. Published by Kaga-ya Kichiyemon, c 1827-30. Robinson S2.10.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Full size (rare with designs from this set). Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Shows the fearsome female warrior, Fujinoye, defending Takadachi Castle in 1189. In a rain of arrows she attacks Yemoto Juro and Nagasawa Uyemon-taro on the castle steps. From the set Honcho Suikoden goyu happyaku-nin no hitori, “Eight Hundred Heroes of our Country’s Suikoden, One by One.” Published by Kaga-ya Kichiyemon, c 1831. Robinson S4a.1.

 

Fine impression and colour. Slight trimming at bottom, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Shows Sasaki Saburo Moritsuna, holding a dirk in his mouth, and strangling the fisherman Fujidayu. From an untitled set published by Kawaguchi-ya Uhei, c 1825-30. The story revolves around Moritsuna bribing the fisherman to reveal the whereabouts of the shallows at Fujito, a strait separating Kojima from the mainland, and being 500 yards wide impossible for the troops to cross without boats to attack the Taira forces. The version depicted here shows Fujidayu being killed, rather than just bribed. Robinson Sia.6.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A triptych showing beauties carrying brine in yoked buckets to be made into salt. From a set Mu Tamagawa, Mutsu no kuni chidori no Tamagawa, “Six Jewel Rivers, Plover Jewel River in Mutsu Province.” Also known as the Noda Jewel River. Above, a flock of chidori. The Mu Tamagawa theme was popular in Japanese art. Published by Sanoya Kihei, 1847-8.
Very good impression. Slight fading, otherwise good colour. Very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A rare early Kuniyoshi triptych, Minamoto no Yorimitsu no Shitenno tsuchigumo taiji no dzu, showing Minamoto no Yorimitsu (Raiko) and his loyal retainers: Watanabe no Tsuna, Usui no Sadamitsu, Sakata no Kintoki and Urabe no Suetake killing the giant “Earth Spider.” Numerous versions exist of this story but basically Raiko and his followers have to tackle various horrendous apparitions in a cave within the hill Kagura ga oka near Kyoto, eventually to be faced by a beautiful woman who envelops Raiko in cobwebs. He slays her and her body turns into a spider, the head being twenty-five feet long and eyes shining like the sun and moon. He cuts off the beast’s head and the carcase reveals the many bodies devoured by it. Published by Maru-ya Seijiro, c 1838. Robinson T46 and illustrated in colour, Kuniyoshi, B.W.Robinson, Phaidon 1982, plate 37.

 

Very good impression and colour. Minor creasing, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.Very good impression. Slight fading, otherwise good colour. Very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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Hana, “Flowers” from the set Setsugekka no uchi, “Snow, Moon, and Flowers.” Shows the actor Ichikawa Sadanji as Gosho no Gorozo. The main character in the play Soga moyo tateshi no goshozome, “The Story of Gorozo, the Chivalrous Commoner.” A convoluted plot (as usual) with the samurai Gorozu becoming an otokodate upon being expelled by his family because of an undesirable love affair. Gorozu ends up killing his old master’s lover, Oshu. Published by Akiyama Buemon, 1890. A fine set of bust portraits.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Yoshitoshi.

 

Status: Available

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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A triptych Gikeiki Gojobashi no zu, “Gojo Bridge in the Chronicles of Yoshitsune.” Shows Musashi-bo Benkei of herculean strength subdued by the young Onzoshi Ushiwaka Maru (Yoshitsune) on Gojo Bridge.The story relates how Benkei (1155-1189) wandered around Kyoto with the intention of relieving 1000 samurai of their swords. One night, with one more sword to go, he saw Yoshitsune playing a flute and wearing a golden sword at the Gojotenjin Shrine. They agreed to fight on Gojo Bridge in southern Kyoto. However, Yoshitsune was too agile for Benkei and had been educated in the secrets of fighting by the tengu. Following Yoshitsune’s victory Benkei became Yoshitsune’s retainer. Published by Morimoto Junzaburo, 1881. One of Yoshitoshi’s best designs.

 

Very good impression and colour. Later editions lack the black outline around the moon and have clouds added. (Interestingly, a feature usually found on the earliest states of prints, but in this case the reverse.) Very good condition. Signed Taiso Yoshitoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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A triptych showing the Japanese Buddhist deity Fudo Myo-o, one of the five “Kings of Wisdom,” above the novitiate priest Yuten Shonin (1637-1718) about to consume the sword of wisdom thereby gaining supernatural wisdom and enlightenment. (Often miscatalogued as threatening him.) On the right is the goddess of mercy, Kannon. The scene is set in the Zojoji Temple where Shonin goes on to become the Abbot. Published by Akiyama Buemon, 1885.

 

Fine impression with the publisher’s details intact in the left border of last sheet – often trimmed off. Fine colour and condition. Signed Yoshitoshi.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A triptych showing Shoguntaro Taira Yoshikado (centre), his sister Takiyasha-hime (left), and Yoshikado’s retainer, Iga Jutaro, watching magic toads wrestling. Huge toads loom above them. Shogun Taro Yoshikado mikata wo atsumen ga tame etc. Takiyasha-hime was known for her toad magic which she had gained from a scroll containing their secrets given to her by her brother. Published by Tsuru-ya Kiyemon, 1842-3. Robinson T.89.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Ichiyusai and Chooro Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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