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2018 – Celebrating 50 years dealing in fine Japanese prints, paintings and books

 

Kitagawa UTAMARO (1753-1806)



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A benigirai-e (red-avoiding) triptych showing from right to left: A young nobleman with a falcon, a beauty beside him holding his sword and another seated smoking a pipe; the centre panel shows two women and a child holding a small falcon; while the last sheet has two women selecting eggplants from the baskets of an eggplant seller. The backdrop for the whole scene is a majestic Mt. Fuji. The combination of Fuji, falcon and eggplant is known as Ichi-Fuji, Ni-Taka, San-Nasubi (1-Fuji, 2-Falcon, 3-Eggplant) and it is supposed to be good luck to dream of these three in the first dream of the New Year (or, in fact, on the second night, the first being sleepless. The following day is known as hatsuyume). Extremely rare: the only impression I can find is illustrated in Kiyoshi Shibui, Ukiyoe zuten, No. 13, Utamaro, p. 37. (The date given here is 1801, although the late 1790s might be more appropriate as the vogue for benigirai-e [probably as a response to sumptuary edicts] was prevalent around the 1790s.) Published by Murataya Jirobei of Eiyudo. Another triptych by Utamaro of this subject is illustrated in Yoshida, Utamaro zenshu, p. 156. A very fine design.

 

Fine impression. Extremely good colour: these pigments are very susceptible to any light or moisture. Extremely good condition.Signed Utamaro hitsu.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A night scene illuminated by a band of light from a hand-lantern. Shows Ushiwaka-maru (Yoshitsune) battling with the outlaw priest Kumasada Chohan and his band of thieves who were attempting to rob the inn where Yoshitsune was staying. Published by Ibaya Sensaburo, c. 1839-41. A fine design.

 

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

 

Status: Available

 

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Ichiyusai HIROSHIGE II (1829-1869)




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A snow scene: Imadobashi Matsuchiyama, “Imado Bridge and Matsuchi Hill.” From Toto sanjurokkei, “Thirty-six Views of the Eastern [ Edo ] Capital.” The set published by Ai-To between 1861 and 1862 ( this being 8/1862 ). This was also a district that attracted Hiroshige I and he designed a number of prints of the area. One of the six best designs from the set.


Fine impression of the first edition. Fine colour. Trimmed close at bottom, otherwise fine condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.


Status: Available

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Utagawa KUNIMARU (1794-1829)



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An uncut fan print showing a beauty looking into a lacquered hand mirror which she has withdrawn from a lacquered cabinet. Kunimaru produced some exceptional fans, of which this is one. However, his work in other fields is not noteworthy and it does pose the question if there were two artists with the same name ? Published 1827. Of particular interest is the design on the under-garment she is holding which has a Dutch motif of cherubs. Rare.

 

Very fine impression with strong burnishing on the mirror case, cabinet and her hair. Fine colour. Small repaired binding holes, otherwise very good condition. Signed Kunimaru hitsu.

 

Status: Available

 

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Tsukioka SETTEI (1710-1786)




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An interesting large painting, full colour on paper mounted on a wooden frame, 25.5 in; 62cms in diameter showing a bust portrait of a beauty with elaborate coiffure holding a child and a rattle. Although not signed, the attribution is unquestionable, painted between 1767-1773 in Osaka. It appears to have been commissioned to hang in a hairdresser’s or cosmetic shop and has metal eyes at the top. The oxidised silver leaf background was meant to resemble a mirror and the idea of busts reflected in mirrors and silver grounds was later employed by Utamaro and Sharaku. Apart from silver, gold leaf and gum is applied. Such signboards appear in an illustrated book by Hasegawa Mitsunobu published in Osaka in 1752. This new discovery has been written about by Dr. Yamamoto Yukari in vol.27 of Minzoku Geijutsu (Ethno-Arts) in 2011. Minor surface marks all over but astonishingly good condition given their age and use. Extremely rare.


Status: Available




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Kikukawa EIZAN (1787-1867)




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A triptych showing a street thronged with people in front of the famous department store Iwaki Masuya, giving a good cross-section of the inhabitants of the city at this time. The store specialised in silk and textiles and was one of the most important in Edo having, at one point, 500 employees in its stores. Hiroshige designed another triptych of this subject in c. 1850.

 

Published by Mikawaya Seiemon, c. 1815. Rare.

 

Fine impression. Extremely fine fresh colour. Fine condition. Full size. Signed Kikukawa Eizan fude.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)



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A chuban surimono showing two geisha playing a shamisen and a koto in front of a Kano-school gold-leaf screen. Two poems by Tsukinoya Tsuruhiko and Kachoya Noritsuga . A beautiful surimono.

 

Very fine impression with extensive gold, silver and bronze. Fine colour and, apart from a little loss of gold on the screen, in fine condition. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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The warrior Ritchitaisai Genshoji in a boat attacked by grappling-hooks thrown by his adversaries. A design 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 Kagaya Kichiyemon, 1827-30. Robinson S2.53.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Full size (unusual as these prints are overlarge obans and often trimmed). Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Cho GESSHO (1772-1832) and Kazaore YUJO (fl. c. 1790-1800)




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5 vols. complete: Zoku Koya Bunko, “The Sequel to Koya Library.” Vol. 1: 52 sheets; 48 illus. Vol. 2: 49 sheets; 48 illus. Vol. 3: 53 sheets; 51 illus. Vol. 4: 53 sheets; 52 illus. Vol. 5: 56 sheets; 54 illus. Preface, 5 pp. by Kogetsutei, dated Kansai 9 (1797). Artists: Kazaore Yujo and Cho Gessho. Published by Fugetsu Magosuke, Nagoya, Kansai 10 (1798), together with other publishers in Edo, Osaka and Kyoto. The greatest anthology of printed haiga (haiku poems accompanied by illustrations based on simple, yet often profound, observations of everyday life). The anthology was started by Yujo but taken over by Gessho on his death. Most of the work is Gessho’s. This is one of the few books where the block-cutter and printer must take pride of place beside the artist. The most striking effects were achieved by these artisans by imaginative working of the block surface and wiping of the blocks to produce distinctive variations in texture and formless adumbrations of trees, plants and landscapes, all in sumi. Other examples: Duret 464 (5 vols. 1799); Gonse (III), 438 (4 vols., 1798); Holloway 18; Ryerson, pl. XI. Original covers and title slips. Some slight damage to covers and slight restored wormage at bottom of first sheets of vol. 1. But otherwise an exceptionally fine and clean copy with hardly any thumbing on corners. A lovely and rare set.

 

Status: Available

 




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Katsushika HOKUSAI (1760-1849)




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An original painting showing the back view of a courtesan and her assistant. The poem is by Shokusanjin:
It is all because of you who is blooming,
flowers and the moon in this quarter seem prosperous
Shokusanjin

This appears to have been painted during his Sori period at a banquet held by the geisha house that Hokusai and Shokusanjin attended. In good condition having been recently remounted. Sumi and light colour on paper, 15.25 x 21.5 in; 38.7 x 54.6 cms. Signed Hokusai sekijyo, “Hokusai on this occasion.”

 

Seal unread: This is a seal used by Hokusai during this period as well as in his later years, but has not been deciphered.

 

Status: Available

 




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Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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A rare ko-tanzaku design, Tsukudajima natsu no kei, “Summer View of Tsukudajima Island.” From a Toto meisho set published by Shogendo, c. 1837-8. Shows a large fishing boat beneath a bursting rocket; Tsukudajima in the background. There is another version of this design with a halo of light falling from the bursting rocket. This impression is so fine, I am surmising this is the earliest state.

 

Very fine early impression with strong woodgrain visible. Fine colour and condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Spring moon at the shore of Tsukudajima. One of a set of chu-tanzaku prints published by Shogendo, c.1837. Tsukudajima was one of two islands at the mouth of the Sumida River. Originally a sandbar, it was reclaimed with earth and rocks and given its name by the first Tokugawa Shogun, Ieyasu, who invited thirty-three fishermen to live there in 1613 in order to provide fish for the rapidly expanding city of Edo. The fishermen came from Tsukudama near Osaka. And it was they who became the proprietors of what would become the Tsukiji fish market. It must have been popular during the late Edo period as a place to visit and view the boats from teahouses on the shore because there are many prints depicting the area, especially under a full moon.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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Echikawa from Kisokaido rokujukyutsugi no uchi, “Sixty-Nine Stations of the Kisokaido.” The set of seventy prints was started by Eisen and published by Hoeido in 1835, but in 1837 Hiroshige took over and completed the series with the publisher Iseya Rihei (Kinjudo). Shows the Echi river with a trestle bridge crossing it. In the foreground a laden oxen being led and two peripatetic priests.

 

Fine impression and colour. Imperceptible centre fold, otherwise very good condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Teisai HOKUBA (1771-1844)



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One of Hokusai’s best pupils. Known for his paintings of beauties but also designed some fine surimono. An original fan painting showing a reclining beauty. Sumi and light red on silvered paper, 7.25 x 17.75 in; 18.5 x 45.2 cms. Removed from a fan, so rib folds and other minor marks. Signed Hokuba ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Hishikawa MOROSHIGE (FL. 1684-1704)




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An original painting showing a high-ranking samurai household at leisure. Moroshige was the senior pupil of Hishikawa Moronobu, and, it is said, was the father of Furuyama Moromasa. Sumi and full colour with gold additions on paper. 11.5 x 19 in; 29 x 48.25 cms. This is most likely from a handscroll as the height is correct, and the slight vertical striations indicate it has been rolled at some time. Painted c. 1700. Some slight loss of pigments, especially the verdigris and minor marks, but all commensurate with the age of the painting. The details on the costumes of the two main figures are exquisite.

 

Status: Available

 




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Nishiyama KAN’EI (1834-1897)




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A gajo (album) of 21 original paintings by Nishiyama Kan’ei, the son and pupil of Nishiyama Hoen. They both worked in Osaka and Kan’ei carried on the Shijo school tradition. Relatively few paintings and drawings by Kan’ei survive but based on these and his fine Kan’ei gafu, published in 1886, it is evident he was an accomplished artist. The postscript to the album is an authentication by Takebe Hakuoh (1871-1927) stating that they are original works by the master. He studied under Kan’ei. Comes with the original box. The album and box in excellent condition. Sumi and light colour on paper mounted on gold-flecked boards. All paintings sealed Kan’ei.

 

Status: Available

 




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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Kaneko Kugutsune (aka Okane, Kane-jo, and Omi no Okane) from the set Chuko meiyo kijin den, “Stories of Remarkable Persons of Loyalty and High Reputation.” Published by Iseya Ichiemon or Enshuya Matabei (this design) 1845. Robinson S35.5. Known as the Strong Woman of Omi, she is credited with subduing a runaway horse by holding its rein down with her geta. She is shown here with her washtub, the wild horse in the background.

 

Superb impression and colour. Very slight crinkling , trimmed close and some small wormage, otherwise fine condition. Signed Cho-o-ro Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Princess Chujo (Chujo-hime) from the set Chuko meiyo kijin den, “Stories of Remarkable Persons of Loyalty and High Reputation.” Published by Iseya Ichiemon or Enshuya Matabei (this design) 1845. Robinson S35.17. Abandoned by her stepmother, she is rescued by the nuns of Taima-dera, becomes a nun, and is credited with the invention of embroidery. She is shown here with a spinning wheel (forming a mandela around her head) and looking out at a landscape with a rainbow.

 

Very fine impression and colour. Very slight crinkling and trimmed close, otherwise fine condition. Signed Cho-o-ro Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Fujiwara no Yasumasa from the set Chuko meiyo kijin den, “Stories of Remarkable Persons of Loyalty and High Reputation.” Published by Iseya Ichiemon or Enshuya Matabei (this design) 1845. Robinson S35.11. A renowned poet and flautist, he escapes being attacked by the robber Hakamadare Yasusuke who is mesmerized by the music.

 

Superb impression and colour. Very slight crinkling and trimmed close, otherwise fine condition. Signed Cho-o-ro Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Shidzuka-gozen or Lady Shidzuka from the set Chuko meiyo kijin den, “Stories of Remarkable Persons of Loyalty and High Reputation.” Published by Iseya Ichiemon or Enshuya Matabei (this design) 1845. Robinson S35.12. She was a renowned 12th century shirabyoshi (court) dancer who achieved fame after 100 Buddhist monks and 99 other dancers failed to bring much needed rain.

 

Superb impression and colour. Very slight crinkling and trimmed close, otherwise fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Chinzei Hachiro Tametomo (aka Minamoto no Tametomo) from the set Chuko meiyo kijin den, “Stories of Remarkable Persons of Loyalty and High Reputation.” Published by Iseya Ichiemon or Enshuya Matabei (this design) 1845. Robinson S35.15. He was a renowned archer who was banished to Oshima in Izu and is shown here holding a huge bow made from a tree branch and looking down at a fisherwoman. A large anchor behind.

 

Superb impression and colour. Very slight crinkling and trimmed close, otherwise fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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The poetess Kikaku from the set Chuko meiyo kijin den, “Stories of Remarkable Persons of Loyalty and High Reputation.” Published by Iseya Ichiemon or Enshuya Matabei (this design) 1845. Robinson S35.6. Shows the Tokugawa poetess sheltering beneath an umbrella in heavy rain in a boat floating under a bridge. A fine design.

 

Superb impression and colour. Very slight crinkling and trimmed close, otherwise fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Jigoku Dayu, the “Hell Courtesan” from the set Chuko meiyo kijin den, “Stories of Remarkable Persons of Loyalty and High Reputation.” Published by Iseya Ichiemon or Enshuya Matabei (this design) 1845. Robinson S35.3. She was a courtesan who found enlightenment through the Buddhist monk Ikkyu. (The fly-whisk she holds denotes her enlightenment.) Sold to a brothel, she believed her misfortune was due to karma and is always depicted with robes depicting images of hell.

 

Very fine impression and colour. Very slight crinkling and trimmed close, otherwise fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Miyamoto Musashi fencing with Tsukahara Bokuden from the set Chuko meiyo kijin den, “Stories of Remarkable Persons of Loyalty and High Reputation.” Published by Iseya Ichiemon (this design) or Enshuya Matabei 1845. Robinson S35.8. Tsukahara Bokuden was a famous swordsman (1489-1571). He is shown here parrying Musashi’s wooden swords with pot lids. Actually, Bokuden died 13 years before Musashi was born, so this is anecdotal.

 

Superb impression and colour. Very slight crinkling and trimmed close, otherwise fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A complete diptych showing Inuyama Dosetsu Tadatomo with smoke curling around him and his hand on one of his swords facing Inugawa Sosuke Yoshito on one knee grasping his sword beside a wood fire from which the billowing smoke is emanating. Two of the heroes from Kyokutei Bakin’s famous book, Nanso Satomi hakkenden, “The Chronicles of the Eight Dog Heroes of the Satomi Clan of Nanso.” From a set of prints Kendo ryaku den “Abridged Stories of Our Country’s Swordsmamship.” Published by Kadzusa-ya Iwazo, c. 1845-6. The complete diptych is rare. Robinson S37.9.7.

 

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

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A complete diptych showing Inukai Kempachi wielding an iron truncheon against Inudzuka Shino who stands, sword drawn, with one foot on a fallen follower of Kempachi during the fight on the Horyukaku roof of Koga Castle. A well-known episode from Kyokutei Bakin’s famous book, Nanso Satomi hakkenden, “The Chronicles of the Eight Dog Heroes of the Satomi Clan of Nanso.” From a set of prints Kendo ryaku den “Abridged Stories of Our Country’s Swordsmamship.” Published by Kadzusa-ya Iwazo, c. 1845-6. Robinson S37.6.5. The complete diptych is rare.

 

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

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A complete diptych showing Miyamoto Musashi dressed for travelling looking across at Sasaki Kojiro who stands in profile with clenched fist. These two great swordsmen agreed to fight on April 13, 1612, on Ganryu Island off the coast of Bizen Province. The outcome was that Musashi killed Kojiro. From a set of prints Kendo ryaku den “Abridged Stories of Our Country’s Swordsmamship.” Published by Kadzusa-ya Iwazo, c. 1845-6. Robinson S37.16.18. The complete diptych is rare.

 

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

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Chinzei Hachiro Tametomo battling a large wild boar in the snowy mountains of Mashiki in the province of Higo, watched from above by Takama Harutsugu. A rare print from a rare unfinished (?) series Buyu hyaku den, “A Hundred Stories of Military Valour.” Published by Fujioka-ya Hikotaro, c. 1836.

 

Fine impression and colour. Slight fold, otherwise fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A vertical oban diptych showing the poetess Kagano Chiyo (1703-1775). The story relates how Chiyo goes to her well to draw water only to find that a morning-glory vine has overgrown her bucket. Rather than disturb it, she goes to a neighbour for water. This is the subject of a famous poem by Chiyo. Published by Izumiya Ichibei mid 1840s.

 

Very good impression and colour. Paper slightly toned and one light crease. Ample room for joining. Signed Chooro Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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A charming small painting in shijo style obviously from a gajo of such sketches. Shows a flowering plum branch loosely tied to another branch. Sumi and light colour on paper, 5.5 x 8 in; 14 x 20.25 cms. Signed Hiroshige ga with Ichiryusai seal. Slight centre fold (of course) otherwise good condition. Old mount with bamboo ends.

 

Status: Available

 




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Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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An original fan painting mounted as a scroll. Shows a gorge with the fast flowing Nagatoro River in Musashi Province. (An area in western Saitama Prefecture northwest of Tokyo.) Sumi and light blue on paper, 7 x 20.5 in; 17.75 x 52 cms. Comes with a certificate from Aoki Shinzaburo (who had a large collection of Hiroshige drawings and paintings). In good condition. Signed Hiroshige with Ryusai seal.

 

Status: Available

 




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Chobunsai EISHI (1756-1829)



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The parading courtesan Yosooi of Matsubaya with her kamuro Tomeki and Nioi. Published by Nishimuraya Yohachi c. 1800. She must have been a popular courtesan as she is depicted on many prints by various artists around this date.

 

Fine impression. Very good colour: Pale yellow ground. Very slight centre fold, otherwise very good condition. Signed Eishi zu.

 

Status: Available

 

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Keisai EISEN (1790-1848)



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A courtesan Tsuki ni kiku, literally a chrysanthemum under a moon from a set Furyu gosetsu bijin awase, “Elegant Pictures of Beauties for the Five Seasons.” Shows the courtesan beneath an autumn moon. (Full moon viewing was on the 15th day of the 8th month.) Published by Soshuya Yohei, c. 1825.

 

Very good impression. Fine colour and condition. Signed Eisen hitsu.

 

Status: Available

 

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Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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An original painting showing the old lighthouse at Tempozan, Osaka. To the left is the mount which was formed by earth dredged from the Ajigawa in 1831 to allow easier access for ships. In the foreground masts of moored vessels. There appear to be few images of this lighthouse. It was replaced by a lighthouse designed by the British engineer Richard Henry Brunton, the “Father of Japanese Lighthouses” in 1872. Sumi and light colour on paper, 12.75 x 20.25 in ; 32.4 x 51.4 cms.

 

Signed Hiroshige ga with Ichiryusai seal. Very good condition.

 

Status: Sold

 




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