Please contact JapanesePrints-London for prices of catalogued items. We also purchase prints, paintings and books individually or as collections. Richard Kruml also appraises and values collections.

 

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

 

Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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A snow scene: Fukagawa kiba, “Fukagawa Timber Yards.” The yards date back and are the result of the Meireki fire of 1657. Large amounts of wood was required for expanding Edo and the wood yards were moved to this area of swampland east of the Sumida River. 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 II (1826-1869)



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Enshu Akiba enkei Fukuroi tako. Fukuroi, Enshu (Totomi) Province from the “Hundred Views of Famous Places in the Provinces.” An uncompleted set of 81 prints published by Uoya Eikichi between 1859 – 1861 (this being 1859). Shows kite flying with a distant view of Mount Akiba. It has been suggested that the release of confetti was to bring good luck for the forthcoming harvest.

 

 

Very fine impression of the first edition. Fine colour. Very slight soil, otherwise fine condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Kozuke, Harunasan setchu, “Kozuke [Province], Mount Haruna Under Snow.” From a set of 69 prints [Dai Nihon] Rokujuyoshi meisho zue, “Famous Places in the Sixty-odd Provinces [of Japan]” published by Koshihei between 1853 and 1856, this being 1853. A red bridge spans a gorge with precipitous cliffs and a fast flowing river. Fantastic crags point upwards into the sky. In the distance is Mount Haruna – a sleeping volcano.

 

Very fine impression and colour. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Kawanabe KYOSAI (1831-1889)




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A large original painting, full colour on silk, image size 48 x 21.75 in; 122 x 55.25 cms. A draughtsman of great dexterity with a wild, often bizzare , imagination. Loved sake, sometimes painting under its influence. At an early stage studied under Kuniyoshi, then Maemura Towa and later Kano Chinshin before becoming an independent painter at 27. Adept at highly finshed paintings but also produced a large corpus of spontaneous paintings. Shows a standing courtesan with her kamuro. An homage to Hokusai whom he obviously admired.

 

Highly finished in places but also incorporating quirky elements of Hokusai’s style. Signed Hokusai hitsu-i (“Imitating Hokusai’s brush”) Shojo Kyosai. In very good condition with old double box with an untranslatable annotation on inside of lid comparing him to Hokusai. An important new discovery.

 

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Kawanabe KYOSAI (1831-1889)




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An important collection of original drawings by Kyosai laid into two accordion albums, opening horizontally, 13.5 x 10 inches. Approx 157 drawings ( one signed and sealed; one signed and dated [ 6th October Meiji 3,1870 ]; and one signed ). After the date is the place: Shinobazu keidai Mikawatei, the garden of a temple ( Bentendo Hall ( ?) at Shinobazu pond, Ueno Park; Mikawatei being a restaurant. And the signature: Seisei Kyosai sui butsu rei hitsu, the drawing of Amida painted when drunk. Some drawings are from life, others seem to be memory drawings of his work, but most are preliminary ideas for books, prints or paintings. Many of Kyosai’s favourite subjects are represented including: skeletons, onis and cats. Drawings on this scale, spontaneous and with no need to impress, give a better insight into the mind of an artist, and on almost every page Kyosai’s humour shines through. Of particular delight are a group of drawings showing men on horseback playing some Japanese variation of polo, and a sheet recording new-born, still blind rats.

Status: Available




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Kawanabe KYOSAI (GYOSAI) (1831-1889)




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A draughtsman of great dexterity with a wild, often bizarre, imagination. Loved sake, sometimes painting under its influence. At an early age studied under Kuniyoshi, then Maemura Towa and later Kano Tohaku Chinshin before becoming an independent painter at 27. Was famous for his crow paintings but also loved skeletons. This newly discovered painting shows a full-length skeleton humorously hiding its genital area – not with a fig-leaf – but a large lotus leaf. Sumi and light green on silk, 38.75 x 13 in; 98.5 x 33 cms. Interestingly, a very faint under-drawing can be seen where he first thought of placing the figure.

 

 

Many copies of his work. In very good condition. Signed Seisai Kyosai with bell seal.

 

 

Status: Available

 




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Kitagawa UTAMARO II (Fl. c 1807-1830s)



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A courtesan and her Shinzo from a set Edo murasaki edoru hinagata, “Models Designed in the Purple of Edo.” A bluish purple as opposed to the more reddish purple from Kyoto. A pigment that had been extremely expensive and reserved for the elite few, but became cheaper and more accessible during the Edo period, fuelled by leading actors – such as Danjuro – wearing an Edo murasaki headband. Published 11/1807. Publisher unread.

 

Very good impression, colour and condition. Signed Utamaro hitsu.

 

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Mori SOSEN (1747-1821)


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An original painting, sumi and light colour on silk, 42.5 x 16 in; 108 x 40.5 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 Maruyama 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 painting 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. This high quality painting shows two monkeys sitting on the branch of a cherry tree. Signed Sosen with two Sosen seals. In good condition.

 

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Torii KIYONOBU II (Fl. c 1720s-1760)



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An early print showing the actor Segawa Kikunojo as Oiso no Tora looking down at Kameya Jujiro as Soga no Juro Sukenari who is leaning on a shogi board (Japanese chess). The play Hatsu hikage maizuru Soga was performed at the Nakamura-za Theatre, 1/1737. Published by Nakajima Izaemon. Ex collection Dr E.F. (1978). Rare.

 

Fine impression. Urushi beni-e with hand-applied colour: tan, yellow, light beni, gold powder and lacquered sumi over an embossed pattern. Toned with some fading of colour. Signs of mounting au verso. Signed Torii Kiyonobu hitsu.

 

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Torii KIYONOBU II (Fl. c 1720s-1760)



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An early print showing the actor Sawamura Harugoro as Soga no Goro. Another impression is in MFA, Boston, acc. no. 21.5656. Published by Hiranoya Kohachi c early 1740s. Ex collection Dr E.F. (1969). Rare.

 

Very good impression. Urushi beni-e with signs of hand-colouring (faded) and lacquered sumi. Paper toned and signs of mounting au verso. Signed Torii Kiyonobu hitsu.

 

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Adachi GINKO (Fl. 1874-1897)



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The actor Onoe Kikugoro V in the role of the evil Asao no Tsubone in a story by Murai Teikichi from a set Kodan isseki; yomikiri tsuika, “Storytelling Complete in One; More Stories.” Published by Gusokuya Kahei, 1874. Shows Tsubone encircled by snakes who force her to reveal her true identity – the Fox Spirit. Kodan (traditional storytelling) raconteurs narrated Japanese folk stories, sometimes accompanying themselves with wooden blocks clapped together or a fan giving rhythm. (The open Kodan text is shown top right.) Having been popular from around 1700 (and known as Koshaku), these performances gained renewed popularity in the 1850s with the classic standards augmented by contemporary stories of heroes and vigilantes.

 

Very good impression and colour. Minimal trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Oju Ginko hitsu.

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Mino, Yoro no taki, “Mino [Province], Yoro Waterfall” from a set of 69 prints [Dai Nihon] Rokujuyoshi meisho zue, “Famous Places in the Sixty-odd Provinces [of Japan]” published by Koshihei between 1853 and 1856, this being 1853. The 32 metre fall is 4 metres wide and is located in Yoro Park, near Nagoya.

 

Very fine impression and colour with blind-printing on the fall. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Wakasa, Gyosen karei-ami, “Fishing Boats and Flounder Nets in Wakasa [Province]” from a set of 69 prints [Dai Nihon] Rokujuyoshi meisho zue, “Famous Places in the Sixty-odd Provinces [of Japan]” published by Koshihei between 1853 and 1856, this being 1853. Fishing in Wakasa Bay. The highway between the Wakasa ports and Kyoto was nicknamed the “Mackerel Highway” because of the quantity of fish that was transported.

 

Very fine impression and colour. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Hida, kago-watashi, “Basket Ropeway in Hida [Province]” from a set of 69 prints [Dai Nihon] Rokujuyoshi meisho zue, “Famous Places in the Sixty-odd Provinces [of Japan]” published by Koshihei between 1853 and 1856, this being 1853. Originating in China, Japan and northern India, travellers could cross deep ravines by suspending themselves in a harness which evolved into a basket.

 

Very fine impression and colour. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

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Hashiguchi GOYO (1880-1921)


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An original pencil drawing on thick paper, 13.5 x 13.75 in; 34.25 x 35 cms, of a nude. Quite probably either Kodaira Tomi or Nakatani Tsuru. Both were his muse and had similar features. On the reverse is another drawing of a nude with the face unfinished. Two small red seals bottom left. One reading Honjo, the other unread. A small amount of foxing on reverse, otherwise in good condition.

 

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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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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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One of a set: Edo Murasaki meisho Genji, “Murasaki’s Genji in Famous Places of Edo.” Mitate Ukifune Sumidagawa no watashi, “A Parody of Ukifune Crossing the Sumida River.” Shows a beauty on a ferry crossing the Sumida River in heavy snow, representing Ukifune, one of the court ladies of the Genji Monogatari. Stylised clouds above and below copying the traditional kiri-gane gold found on Yamato-e scrolls. These Genji pictures were popular at this time to circumvent the reforms of 1842. Published by Kinseido (his seal also appearing on the umbrella bottom right). Rare.

 

Fine impression. Very good colour. Lower margin trimmed close, otherwise very good condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

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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.

 

Status: Available

 

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Kubo SHUNMAN (1757-1820)



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Chobu, Province of Musashi from an exquisite set of six prints showing graceful young women, girls and, in two instances, young men representing the Six Crystal (Tama) Rivers. These streams were noted for the purity of their water. The prints are in benigirai style, “red avoiding,” a technique pioneered by Shunman, Eishi and Shuncho.Shows a girl washing stripes of cloth in the stream. In fact, this design conjoins with the previous print in the set of six prints. Shunman, a man of great sophistication, designed only a few prints before concentrating on surimono and printing and issuing some of the finest in this format. (See The Japanese Print: A New Approach, J. Hillier, pp. 102-104 where he says “Probably no artist except Choki has achieved so high a reputation on such a small number of prints.”) He also excelled at painting, book illustration and light verse. Published by Fushimiya Zenroku, c 1787. (A later edition was published by Tsutaya with less harmonious colours.) One of the most beautiful 18th century sets, and together with a night triptych showing people returning from a poetry reading, is considered his masterpiece. The complete set (trimmed) is illustrated in the Gale Catalogue Of Japanese Paintings & Prints, J. Hillier, Routledge, 1970, number 133 (a) – (f). Provenance: Originally purchased from me in 2008. Rare.

 

Fine impression with some blind-printing. Very good colour: printed only in tones of grey, light yellow and light pink, with touches of light red on the tree. Very small repaired wormhole, otherwise extremely good condition with extra paper at left. Probably untrimmed (whereas illustrated examples all seem to be trimmed somewhere). Signed Shunman with seal Shunman.

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Omi, Biwako Ishiyamadera, “Ishiyama Temple and Lake Biwa in Omi [Province].”From a set of 69 prints [Dai Nihon] Rokujuyoshi meisho zue, “Famous Places in the Sixty-odd Provinces [of Japan]” published by Koshihei between 1853 and 1856, this being 1853. Moonlight on Lake Biwa is one of the iconic Eight Views of Omi.

 

Very fine impression and colour. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE II (1826-1869)



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Bikunibashi setchu, “Bikuni Bridge in Snow.” From the set Meisho Edo hyakkei, “One Hundred Views of Edo.” The set published by Uoya Eikichi 1856-58 (this being 1858). Bikuni Bridge was known for its cheap restaurants. On the right is a sign advertising that imo are roasted whole. (Yakimono were roasted sweet potatoes.) On the left is another sign advertising yama kujiri, “mountain whale.” (In fact wild boar meat. Whale was considered a fish and therefore not forbidden.)

 

Superb impression of the rare first edition.Very fine colour. Imperceptible centre fold, otherwise fine condition. Signed Hiroshige 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.

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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The fifteen year old Otani Furuinosuke killing a giant boar with his bare hands. From a set Honcho Suikoden goyu happyakunin no hitori, “One of the Eight Hundred Heroes of the Water Margin of Japan.” Published by Kagaya Kichiemon c 1831. This is the first edition: It was republished by Ibaya Sensaburo in 1845. Robinson S4a.14.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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A triptych from a set of ten: Dai Nippon shiryaku zue, “Short Illustrated History of Great Japan.” Each print is in the form of an unrolled makimono. This design shows the third son of the twelfth century Emperor Keiko, Yamato Takeru no mikoto (Wo-usu). His father was constantly sending him on dangerous missions making him suspect that he wished his death. One such journey was to the Emishi in northeast Japan. On complaining about this to his high-priestess aunt, Yamatohime, she gave him the famous sword Ame no murakumo no hoken to aid him. On his arrival, the ruler of the Emishi lured him onto open grassland which he set on fire. Wo-usu used his sword to cut the grass, evade death, and start new fires to kill his enemy. Published by Kobayashi, 1880. A fine design.

 

Fine impression of first edition. Fine colour. Very slight crease bottom margin of centre sheet, otherwise fine condition. Signed Taiso Yoshitoshi.

 

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Toyohara CHIKANOBU (1838-1912)



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A triptych showing the Shinto Storm God Susanoo about to slay the eight-headed dragon, Yamata no Orochi, at the head of the Hi River in pouring rain. The dragon devoured virgins and had eaten the seven daughters of two earthly deities, seen top right. The eighth, Kushi-inada-hime, also on the right, is saved by Susanoo who encourages the dragon to drink eight-times brewed sake from eight vats which intoxicates it enough to be killed. Rare: Chikanobu is not known for this type of subject. Published c 1870s.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Mica applied to sky and the rain printed in silver. Full size. Signed Yoshu Chikanobu hitsu.

 

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Shunchosai HOKUSHU (Active 1822-32)




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Onoe Kikugoro III as the ghost of Oiwa in Irohagana yotsuya kaidan, “Ghost Story of Yotsuya.” Performed at the Kado Theatre, 1/1826. Probably the best known Japanese ghost story and has been made into a number of films. Tamiya Iemon, a masterless samurai, murders the wife he has disfigured who comes back to haunt him until he is driven mad and subsequently killed by Oiwa’s brother. Evidently, Kikugoro’s performance was something of a sensation at the time as he gave a bravura performance playing both the ghost of Oiwa and Koheiji who were nailed on opposite sides of a panel dropped into the river. There are at least five states of this print. The first appears to be that illustrated in Roger Keyes, The Theatrical World Of Osaka Prints, Philadelphia Museum Of Art, 1973, no. 34, p. 108 with the engraver and two printers and the writing printed in silver. The example offered here appears to be a second state without the engraver and printers’ seal but with the writing still printed in silver. Other impressions with different seals and lacking the first three lines of writing and the silver are known. See The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University catalogue, Kamigata Prints in the former period: part 1, nos. 279 and 280. Also BM impression 1962,0210,0.2 which may be the last state.

 

 

Fine impression and colour with calligraphy in silver. Very good condition; full size. Signed Shunchosai Hokushu ga.

 

 

Status: Available

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