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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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Suzuki HARUNOBU (1724-1770)



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A fine chuban from a series parodying the Seven Gods of Good Fortune, this being Daikoku, the god of wealth, seen here attempting to stand on one of his straw bales of rice. The famous waitress Kasamori O-sen (1751-1827) stands holding a battledore on New Year’s Day while her companion balances on Daikoku’s shoulders attempting to retrieve the shuttlecock caught in the kado-matsu decorations using her own battledore. The lantern on the right reads Kagi-ya, which was a tea-house located by the Kasamori Inari Shrine in Yanaka, north of Edo, which was owned by O-sen’s father and where she was the waitress. Considered to be one of “The Three Beauties” of her time. (Given the date of the print, she must have been around 18 when shown here.) The Torii gate is seen on the left. The poem above speaks of a New Year’s fresh gem [O-Sen] and how the trees and grasses bend to her. Published c. 1769.

 

Fine impression: As with many Harunobu, the lines are in relief because of the thick hosho. Exceptional colour: Even the vegetable blue used for the paving stones leading to the temple have not turned except at the extreme left and right. This was a colour used frequently by Harunobu to depict water but is almost always faded to a puce colour. Minimal soil, otherwise a fine example from this period. Signed Harunobu ga.

 

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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Katsushika HOKUSAI (1760-1849)



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The Aoigaoka [waterfall] in Edo: Toto Aoigaoka no taki from a set of eight prints with title, Shokoku taki meguri, “A Journey to the Waterfalls of All the Provinces.” A majestic set with a mostly beautiful unifying colour scheme: There is probably no other Hokusai set that has the same impact when viewed complete. Amongst Hokusai’s finest work and much sought after. There are numerous Hiroshige designs based on the same location but they are prosaic in comparison. Eisen, inspired by Hokusai, also produced a set of waterfalls in 1847 which are themselves fine and rare. This particular fall is in fact a spillway for the Tameike reservoir seen above. Aoi Hill near Toranomon Gate to the left. The set published by Eijudo, c. 1832. Rare.

 

Fine impression. Fine, unfaded colour. Minimal soil and slight trimming on left: These designs are martyrs to trimming and many illustrated examples are trimmed, otherwise very good condition. (This raises an interesting problem because most Hokusai landscapes do not have a black border – contrary to Hiroshige’s – which do, making it easy to judge the trimming on the latter.) Signed Zen Hokusai Iitsu hitsu.

 

Status: Available

 

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Kubo SHUNMAN (1757-1820)




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An original painting showing a sparrow taunting a horned owl. Shunman, a man of great sophistication, produced few prints (indeed, as Jack Hillier pointed out [The Japanese Print: A New Approach, pp. 102-104]: “Probably no artist except Choki has achieved so high a reputation on such a small number of prints.”); but is known for his fine surimono. Also excelled at writing, light verse, book illustration and painting of mainly bijin, making the subject matter here rare for him. However, the subject was also used for a surimono by him showing an owl on a flowering magnolia branch. Sumi and the characteristically light and subtle use of colour on silk, 36 x 11.5 in; 91.5 x 29.2 cms. Inscription above by Rosanjin. In very good condition having been remounted. Signed and sealed Shunman.


Status: Available




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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Boar from a chu-tanzaku set of twelve prints Buyu mitate junishi, “Chosen Heroes for the Twelve Signs.” Based on the Chinese zodiac system of twelve animals. Shows Yuryaku Tenno, the 21st Emperor (457-480) by a waterfall killing a huge boar. Said to have occurred at Mount Katsuragi in 461. Published by Minatoya Kohei, c. 1840.

 

Very good impression and colour. Minimal trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Cock from a chu-tanzaku set of twelve prints Buyu mitate junishi, “Chosen Heroes for the Twelve Signs.” Based on the Chinese zodiac system of twelve animals. Shows Kwaido Maru, the boy Kintoki, umpiring a match between a cock and a young tengu. Published by Minatoya Kohei, c. 1840.

 

Very good impression and colour. Minimal trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Hare from a chu-tanzaku set of twelve prints Buyu mitate junishi, “Chosen Heroes for the Twelve Signs.” Based on the Chinese zodiac system of twelve animals. Shows Iga Jutaro, the elderly retainer of Soma Yoshikado, sacrificing a hare in a Buddhist temple. Published by Minatoya Kohei, c. 1840.

 

Very good impression and colour. Minimal trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Horse from a chu-tanzaku set of twelve prints Buyu mitate junishi, “Chosen Heroes for the Twelve Signs.” Based on the Chinese zodiac system of twelve animals. Shows Soga Goro (Tokimune) galloping from Hakone to Mount Fuji to meet his brother Juro and fulfill their revenge in the course of Yoritomo’s great hunting party in 1193. Published by Minatoya Kohei, c. 1840.

 

Very good impression and colour. Minimal trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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A half-block, 8.75 x 6.5 in; 22.5 x 16.5 cms, print showing a Japanese crane standing in water with a flowering plant (a variety of Berberis ?). Published c. late 1840s by Tsutaya Kichizo. Unidentified collector’s seal au verso.

 

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

 

Status: Available

 

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UNSIGNED



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An early Osaka kappazuri-e hosoban diptych (printed with woodblock outline and stencilled colours) showing, on the left sheet, Ichikawa Danzo V in the role of Genta Kagesue, and on the right sheet Arashi Kitsusaburo II in the role of Kajiwara Heiji Kagetaka in the “Genta Kando” act of Hirakana seisuiki, performed at the Kitagawa no Shibai, Osaka, 7/1827. Unidentified publisher’s seal. Complete diptychs are very rare.

 

Fine impression: Beautifully printed for a kappazuri print. Fine colour and condition.

 

Status: Available

 

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Matsumura KEIBUN (1779-1843)




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A fine gajo, 10.75 x 6.75 in; 27 x 17 cms, folding out to 10.75 x 13.5 in; 27 x 34 cms. Consisting of 24 paintings in sumi and light colour of birds, animals and fish, starting with the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac: Rat; Ox; Tiger; Hare; Dragon; Snake; Horse; Goat; Ape; Cock; Dog; Boar. Keibun studied with his older brother Matsumura Goshun as well as Maruyama Okyo. Highly talented, especially in kachoga, and went on to consolidate the Shijo style. Original covers and title slip. End sheet signed by the original owner: Sichikudou, Naniwa (the place that was to become Osaka) with his seal. Another unidentified large seal inside front cover. Some slight wormage not affecting any image and some appropriate scuffing of covers; otherwise very good condition. Painted probably late 1830s.

 

Status: Reserved

 




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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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The apparition of the Sea Monk, Umibozu, looming above the sailor Kawanaya Tokuzo. The best design from the Tokaido gojusan tsui, Station 41, Kuwana. The legend has it that Tokuzo, against the advice of his peers, went to sea on the last day of the year. He subsequently experienced huge seas and the monster who demanded to know what was the most horrible thing he knew. He replied that his profession was the most horrid. Satisfied, the creature descended into the Stygian gloom and the storm abated. Published by Kojima-ya Jubei, c. 1845. Illustrated in Robinson, Kuniyoshi, HMSO, 1961, no. 49.

 

Fine impression. This is an alternative version to the norm with lighter printing to the waves. Fine colour. Slight edge soil, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa YOSHIHARU (1828-1888)



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A fearsome beast looking over the shoulder of Senkaiji Chojun. One of a set Suikoden goketsu kagami, “Mirror of Heroes of the Suikoden.” The set published in conjuction with Yoshitaki and Yoshitsuya by Yamaguchiya Tobei, 1856.

 

Fine impression of the first edition with variegated cartouche. Fine colour. Trimmed at bottom, otherwise fine condition. Signed Ichibaisai Yoshiharu ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Toyohara CHIKANOBU (1838-1912)



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Kusunoki Masatsura killing the magical tanuki from a set of 50 prints Azuma nishiki chuya kurabe, “Edo Embroidery Pictures.” The set published by Kobayashi Tetsujiro, 1886.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Yoshu Chikanobu hitsu.

 

Status: Available

 

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Taiso YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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Kobayakawa Takakage debating with the tengu on mount Hiko from Shinkei sanjurokkaisen, “New Forms of Thirty-six Ghosts.”The set published by Sasaki Toyokichi, 1889-1892 (this being 1892).

 

Very fine first edition. Fine colour and condition. Signed Yoshitoshi.

 

Status: Available

 

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)



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A triptych of the famous scene from Meiboku Sendai hagi “The Disputed Succession” showing Kawarasaki Gonjuro I as Arajishi Otokonosuke and Onoe Kikugoro V as Yoshio. The rat with the scroll of conspirators is attacked, escapes, and reappears through a trapdoor in its true guise as the evil Nikki Danjo. Published by Tsujiokaya Bunsuke, 1869.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Kunichika hitsu.

 

Status: Available

 

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Ohara HOSON (Aka SHOSON, KOSON) (1877-1945)



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A mother monkey holding a persimmon and four playful babies. Published by Kawaguchi, c. 1930. The first and only edition. Ex Robert O. Muller collection. Rare.

 

Very fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Hoson. Copyright seal in lower right margin; seal of printer, Komatsu, and carver, Maeda, in lower left margin. Kawaguchi catalogue number “28” on reverse.

 

Status: Available

 

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Ohara HOSON (Aka SHOSON, KOSON) (1877-1945)



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A rooster and weasel. Published by Kawaguchi, c. 1930. The first and only edition. Ex Robert O. Muller collection. Rare.

 

Very fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Hoson. Copyright seal in lower right margin; seal of printer, Komatsu, and carver, Maeda, in lower left margin.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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An original woodblock for printing the centre sheet of a triptych showing Ame no Tajikarao pulling the giant stone away from the Ama-no-Iwato cave where Amaterasu (the Sun Goddess) had ensconced herself thereby depriving the world of light. The block cut by the publisher Moriya Jihei, 6/1857. The block in very good condition. On the reverse side is the yellow block. Sold with a modern pull from the block. Signed Toyokuni ga.


 

Status: Available

 




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Kitagawa HIDEMARO (Active c. early 19th century)



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A pupil of Utamaro who produced some fine work at the turn of the century. An aiban design showing a portrait of the courtesan Sodenoura of the Tamaya House and her kamuro. Published c. 1810s.

 

Fine impression. Extremely good fresh colour. One paper flaw, otherwise fine condition. Full size. Signed Hidemaro ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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