Suruga Satta no kaijo, “The Sea at Satta, Suruga Province” from Fuji sanjurokkei, “The Thirty-Six Views of Fuji.” The best design from the set published by Koeido (Tsutaya Kichizo), 4/1858. A huge wave breaks on the right releasing a flock of chidori. These birds were supposed to originate from the spume of these waves. Originally travellers on the Tokaido had to traverse the base of the cliff, to the left. However in 1655 a pass was cut in the cliff above. Fuji rises above the bay of Kiyomi. A very popular print.
Fine impression and colour. One or two very minor marks, otherwise very good condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.
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A triptych Shijo-nawate nite Nanke no yeiyu taiteki wo. The last stand of the Kusunoki at Shijo-nawate under a hail of arrows in 1348. Right to left: Wada Shinbochi (Genshu), Kusunoki Masatsura, and Masatomo. Their blue demeaner indicates their imminent demise. Published 1857 by So-To (Sagamiya Tokichi). This forms a 6-sheet composition showing Masayuki, Koshiro Hyogo, and Noda Shiro. Robinson T346.
Fine impression and colour. Imperceptible fold on last sheet and slight discolouration in margins, otherwise very good condition. Full size. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.
An Uki-e, “floating picture” painting showing an interior with a puppet performance taking place. A puppeteer manipulates a female puppet in the centre, behind him two gidayu narrators and a shamisen player. A male puppet is being held behind a screen. Ladies behind a screen at right enjoy the drama. In fact, a male individual at the back seems overcome by emotion with a hanky to his face. The architecture is represented using one-point perspective, a style which made its way to Japan in the 1740’s from the West via China. (Interestingly the artist has got the perspective wrong on the screen at right.) This genre of painting – invariably unsigned – always shows interior or semi-interior views with banquets or, as here, puppet performances. Full colour on paper, 17 x 23 in; 43.2 x 58.5 cms. Minor marks, although good condition for this kind of painting.
A hosoban showing the actor Arashi Sangoro II in the role of Ito Kuro disguised as Banta in the play Izu-goyomi shibai no ganjitsu performed at the Morita Theatre, 11/1772. He holds a brazier aloft and stands in deep snow.
Fine impression. Pristine colour. Small thinned area at top, otherwise fine condition. Full size. Signed Shunsho ga.
An untrimmed aiban fan print showing the actor Nakamura Shikan II on an outing to view the summer fireflies. Ukiyo hotarugari, “Firefly Viewing in the Floating World.” Published by Ibaya Kyubei, 1831.
Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Kochoro Kunisada ga.
A hosoban showing the actor Ichikawa Monnosuke II standing before a torii and looking down at a snake. Not listed in the Riccar Art Museum Exhibition Of Ukiyo-e By Ippitsusai Buncho, 1978. Published c 1769.
Very good impression. Extremely well preserved colour. Probably slightly trimmed on right and slight soil, otherwise very good condition. Signed Buncho ga.
Kaido-maru (Kintoki) with his forest companion, a bear-cub, attacking a giant white monkey. The chubby Kintoki is always shown red-hued and wielding a giant axe. In this case he heaves a tree above his head. Published by Moritaya Hanzo, c 1827. Rare.
Very good impression. Fine colour. Slightly trimmed, otherwise very good condition. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.
Lu Ta ( Lu Chi Shen ) demolishing the gate of the temple of the Five-Crested Mountain. A Chinese captain, he accidentally killed a man and to escape death he became a priest at the temple. The abbot cut his hair and renamed him Lu Chi Shen, “Lu of Deep Wisdom.” However, quickly disregarding priestly vows, he became violent again and drank heavily. Staggering back one night he shattered the temple gate fighting the huge wooden guardian figures. The abbot dismissed him and he reappears as one of the 108 heroes of the Suikoden. Published by Matsui 1887.
Very fine impression of the earliest state of the first edition with blind printing and burnishing. This design was reprinted by Hasegawa with seal in upper left margin “Reproduction not permitted” and lacking date. Also, the lovely pigment used to colour the torso of the guardian figure ( which oxidizes ) is replaced with an inferior colour . There are also intermediate printings between first and Hasegawa version. Fine colour. Some discolouration on the reverse not affecting the front, otherwise fine condition with left margin intact. On thick hosho: These vertical designs must have the left border uncut as it often contains publication information. Signed Yoshitoshi.
A lively design showing Ichikawa Danjuro VII in the role of the loyal warrior Arajishi Otokonosuke Terumitsu fighting a giant rat in the cellar beneath the women’s quarters of the Ashikaga Palace. This scene, Yukashita no Ba, is from the play Date kurabe okuni Kabuki performed at the Kawarasaki-za Theatre, 3/1829. Shortly afterwards, the rat escapes down a hole in the hanamichi pathway, only to re-emerge in a cloud of smoke as the arch-villain and master of the black arts, Nikki Danjo. Published by Eikyudo (Yamamoto Kyubei) 1829.
Fine impression, colour and condition on an extra large sheet of hosho. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.
A fine surimono showing the actor Danjuro VII casting roasted beans from a tray he holds in his left hand. This ritual called setsubun, “end of winter” was performed in the precincts of temples in the Spring (although now takes place in February). He wears the well known Shibaraku costume with the large mimasu crests. Two poems above by Shiseido Sutena and Hoichitei Masunari. The latter being a member of the Taiko-ren, Drum poetry club. Their symbol top right corner. Issued c 1822. Illustrated in colour on the front cover of Art of the Surimono, Theodore Bowie, Indiana University Art Museum, 1979. Rare.
Superb impression with extensive gold and silver. Perfect colour. Light Japanese backing and slightly trimmed at left. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.
An original painting showing a parading oiran on the first day of the eighth month, Hassaku (hachigatsu sakuhi). It was common on this day to wear a white kimono. This festival still takes place in the Gion quarters of Kyoto. The calligraphy, above, is by Bosai (Hosai), an amateur artist and noted scholar and writer. Full colour on silk, 35.25 x 12.5 in; 89.5 x 31.7 cms. In good condition. Signed Shumman painted by himself with Shumman seal.
A complete triptych showing beauties in boats on the Sumida River. Shubi no matsu, “Successful-deal Pine Tree” from a set Edo meisho somoku-zukushi, “Notable Sights Famous for Grass and Trees in Edo.” This famous pine was blown down during the An’ei era (1772-1780); its successor died during the Ansei era (1854-1859); the third died at the end of the Meiji era (c 1910). There is also the Hiroshige view of this subject from the 100 Views of Edo. Published by Ebiya Rinnosuke (Kaijudo), 1845.
Very good impression. Fine colour and condition. Full size. Another state has darker water and variegated cartouche. Signed Cho-o-ro Kuniyoshi ga.
An original painting showing beauties enjoying the cool of the evening on the riverbank and shallows of the Komo-gawa in Kyoto. An exceptional and rare painting by an artist best known for his guides to Osaka and Kyoto, Miyako meisho zue and Naniwa no kagami, published 1778 and 1780. Full colour on silk, 51 x 19.75 in; 129.5 x 50.2 cms. In very good condition. Signed Bunsei tei inoshishi chushu hatsumikka kyoshinioite Shunchosai Takehara Nobushige. Painted 1818.
One of Hiroshige’s most beautiful triptychs: Sumidagawa setchu no zu,“The Sumida River in Snow” from a series Edo meisho shiki no nagame, “Views of the Famous Places of Edo in the Four Seasons.” Shows a ferry landing on the Sumida with a beauty disembarking from a boat and another pair ready to board. Published by Maruya Jinpachi, c 1847-8. Rare.
Very good impression and colour. Horizontal centre fold, otherwise good condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.
A poem by Fujiwara no Yoshitaka (954-974) from Hyakunin isshu uba ga etoki, the “Hundred Poems Explained by the Wet Nurse.” Published by Eijudo and Iseri, c 1835-6. Although obviously intended to be a set of 100 prints, only 27 are known plus drawings for others. The poet speaks of a trivial life prior to meeting his lover. Two women and their companions relax after a bath admiring the view across water. Steam rises from the bath and two cormorants are seen on the left. A languid scene and one of Hokusai’s most beautiful designs.
Fine impression. Very good colour. Two states are known: the printers quickly discovered that the red seal at left was not easily discernible and cut the block to correct this. This is the first state but the seal can hardly be seen except on the reverse. Signed Zen Hokusai.
The most important and influential Osaka artist of the late eighteenth century. An innovator whose style may well have influenced such artists as Shunei and Sharaku. His prints – mostly hosoban – are all of the utmost rarity. Indeed, it is thought, as here, that they originally formed triptychs but, so far, no complete design has been located. The unsigned left panel of a triptych published 1/1793 showing Onoe Shinshichi I (Fujaku) as Isshiki Yukinokami in the play Keisai yanagi sakura. The play involves the rescue of the Ashikaga Shogunate through the efforts of Yukinokami in uncovering a usurper’s plot. The hero stands in a snowy garden holding a fragment of a handscroll he has been found reading. Of the utmost rarity: Only a few impressions are known and there are two states: As here without role above and published by Osakaya Sashichi and with the calligraphy and published by Shiocho.
Fine impression, colour and condition.
An original drawing of a sleeping cat. The original hanshita-e for a published print from Ten Sketches, volume two, published 1918-20. Illustrated in Hashiguchi Goyo, 130 Years Birth. Memorial Exhibition catalogue, Chiba City Museum, Iwakiri Shinichiro, Tokyo Shinibun, 2011. On thin Japanese paper, 11 x 15.5 in; 28 x 39.4 cms. Several expertly repaired tears, otherwise very good condition.
An extremely rare early Osaka hosoban showing the actor Asao Tamejuro II (1779-1806) standing before a broken barricade in the role of Yamashiro Kantsubo in the play Meiboku sendai hagi. This artist and print appear to be unrecorded. Published by Houki (Honya Kichisai), c early 1800. A wonderful design. Many thanks to Hendrick Luhl for his help on this print.
Very good impression and colour. The fujitive background aobana, dayflower pigment, intact except for one small area affected by moisture visible au verso. Very good condition. Signed Sesshunsai ga with seal unread.
The most important and influential Osaka artist of the late eighteenth century. An innovator whose style may well have influenced such artists as Shunei and Sharaku. His prints – mostly hosoban – are all of the utmost rarity. Indeed, it is thought they originally formed triptychs but, so far, no complete design has been located. The oban design offered here is even rarer, there being only two other impressions known: Illustrated in colour, pl. 13, in Kamigata Ukiyo-e Nihyaku-nen Ten, “200 Years of Kamigata Ukiyo-e,” Susumu Matsudaira, 1975; and pl. 43, p. 56, catalogue of exhibition Ukiyo-e of the Kamigata Area at the Osaka Museum of History and Yamaguchi Prefectural Hagi Uragami Museum, Kitagawa Hiroko, 2014. Shows five actors. From right to left (rear): Nakamura Kyojuro, Arashi Sangoro III, Kataoka Nizaemon VII and (front): Asao Tamejiro I, Ichikawa Danzo IV. Published c 1790 by Ki.
Fine impression. Very good colour. Small areas of contemporary hand colouring to face and costume of Tamejiro. Slight folds and small sumi mark bottom left, otherwise very good condition. Probably full size. Signed Ryukosai ga.
An extremely rare and early Osaka hosoban (probably unrecorded) showing the actor Kano Hinasuke I (who later became Arashi Koroku III) standing on large geta and holding an umbrella. Published by Shioki-han (Shioya Kisuke), c 1782. The poem above is signed using the actor’s hango Arashi Minshi. Only a few designs are known by this artist. Many thanks to Hendrick Luhl for his help on this print.
Very good impression and colour. Some wear and tear which has been skilfully restored. On very thin paper. Signed Togakusai hitsu with seal Sadakuni.
An exceptionally rare original double-sided woodblock. On one side is the key-block showing Ichikawa Danjuro VII as the strongman, “chikaramochi,” Ura no Kingo. On the other is the key-block showing Iwai Kumesaburo II as the female acrobat, “karuwazashi,” Tamamoto Kosan. The play is Fujikawabune noriai banashi performed at the Nakamura-za Theatre, 5/1826. The block measures 8.5 x 10.75 x .75 in; 21.6 x 27.3 x 2 cms. The two images signed Gototei Kunisada ga. In very good condition but with obvious minor damage. Sold “as is.”