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.

 

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.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 




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Ichiunsai KUNIHISA (1832-1891)




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An original painting, full colour on paper with the black waistband heavily lacquered, image size 48 x 11 in; 122 x 28 cms. Shows a young beauty carrying a box. She wears an apron and has a towel slung over her shoulder, so is presumably an assistant in a kitchen or bathhouse or similar establishment. The narrow format enhances her natural elegance. Kunihisa was the pupil and son-in-law of Kunisada. Some repaired wormage, otherwise good condition. Signed Kunihisa ga with two indistinct seals.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 




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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.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 




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Yamamoto FUJINOBU (Active 1750-1770)




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An original painting, full colour on paper, image size 32.25 x 7 in; 82 x 18 cms. Shows a parading courtesan with her kamuro. A painter and print artist whose prints were always published by Yamamoto Fusanobu giving rise to the theory that Fujinobu was a pseudonym of the publisher. Much influenced by Harunobu. His prints are extremely rare. Slight creasing, otherwise good condition. Signed Fujinobu ga with indistinct seal.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 




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An original BLOCK (c. 1715)


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An original double-sided wood block, c. 1715. This is the earliest block I have catalogued or indeed seen. Shows warriors in combat on one side and on the reverse a samurai and attendant approaching a beauty on a balcony. Sold “as is” with all imperfections. Rare.

 

 

Status: Available

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Shibaura, shiohigari no zu, “Low Tide [or Ebbtide, or catalogued in some instances as Shell-gathering] at Shibaura” from a Toto meisho “Famous Places in the Eastern Capital” set of ten prints published c. 1831-2 by Kawaguchiya Shozo. Hiroshige’s first oban landscape set with some outstanding designs. Shibaura is now an area with high-rise residential towers. The first editions, as here, have decorative borders adding a western element into the designs. These were removed on later editions. Extremely rare in this state.

 

Fine impression and colour. Very minor edge soil and slight centre fold. Slight trimming of decorative border on left, otherwise very good condition. Prints from this set are often missing or have the publisher’s name and address on the right border trimmed. Signed Ichiyusai Hiroshige ga. (The last set to be signed like this.)

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Susaki yuki no hatsuhi, “Snow on New Year’s Day at Susaki” from a Toto meisho “Famous Places in the Eastern Capital” set of ten prints published c. 1831-2 by Kawaguchiya Shozo. Hiroshige’s first oban landscape set with some outstanding designs. Fukagawa Susaki was a spit of land along Edo Bay. (Also the subject of the Eagle design, Jumantsubo Fukagawa Susaki, from the One Hundred Views of Edo later on.) The first editions, as here, have decorative borders adding a western element into the designs. These were removed on later editions. Extremely rare in this state.

 

Fine impression and colour. Very minor edge soil and slight centre fold, otherwise very good condition. Prints from this set are often missing or have the publisher’s name and address on the right border trimmed. Signed Ichiyusai Hiroshige ga. (The last set to be signed like this.)

 

Status: Available

 

 

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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 KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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The priest Nichiren standing on a rocky promontory at Reizen in Kamakura and having his prayers for rain answered. The event occurred in 1271. His disciples surround him and protect him from the deluge with a large umbrella. Bunei hachi Kamakura Reizan-ga-saki uki. The second best design from Koso [Nichiren] goichidai ryakuza, “Illustrated Abridged Biography of the Founder.” Nichiren (1222-1282) was the founder of the Buddhist Nichiren sect (Nichiren shu – Kuniyoshi being a follower) and indeed the set of ten prints may have been commissioned to mark the 550th anniversary of his death. Published by Iseya Rihei c. 1831.

 

Fine impression. This example has an orange-red colour used on Nichiren’s robe and umbrella rather than the brighter red of other impressions. Very good colour and condition. Full size with ample room on top border for the umbrella which protrudes beyond the border and is notorious for being trimmed. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa NOBUKATSU (Active 1824-1841)



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An Osaka print showing the actor Onoe Baiko III as Kan Shojo (Sugawara Michizane) in the play Sugawara denju tenarai kagami, “Sugawara and the Secrets of Calligraphy.” Performed at the Takeda Theatre, 3/1830. This is the famous Mt. Tempai scene from the play. Published by Tenmaya Kihei. Shows Kan Shojo transformed into the Thunder God wreaking revenge on his enemies.

 

Fine impression and colour. Crease near right edge, otherwise very good condition. Signed Tessai Nobukatsu ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Okute from Kisokaido rokujukyutsugi no uchi, “The 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 woodcutters making their way home as evening approaches.

 

Fine impression: There is a plug of wood next to the last rock on the right. This repair gradually reveals itself and moves out leaving a gap. On the earliest impressions, as here, nothing is discernible. Slight fading of red, otherwise fine colour. Slight centre fold, otherwise fine condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE II (1826-1869)



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A view of a smoking Mt Asama, Shinano Province, from Shokoku meisho hyakkei, the “One Hundred Views of Famous Places in the Provinces.” Mt Asama is an active volcano which violently erupted in 1108. Subsequently there was another eruption in 1783 and since then there have been minor tremors. Published by Uoya Eikichi between 1859 and 1861 (this being 1859).

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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A vertical diptych Shunkan sozu Kikaigashima ni oite tamatama Yasuyori no shamen sembo kito no zu. Shows Shunkan watching a boat sail away from Kikai Island with his pardoned compatriots. Shunkan, the abbot of the Zen temple Hoshoji in Kyoto, was exiled to the barren island of Kikaigashima together with two confederates in 1177 for conspiring against Taira no Kiyomori. The following year Kiyomori pardons political prisoners but omits Shunkan. He is seen here beseeching the boat with his two conspirators to return. Published by Matsui 1886.

 

Fine impression of first state. Fine colour with splashed gofun and blind-printing. Fine condition with ample room for joining the two sheets. Signed Yoshitoshi.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)



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A very early and extremely rare diptych showing Hakamadare Yasusuke and Hirai no Yasumasa. A famous story depicted many times by other artists during the following century. The story relates how Yasumasa, an accomplished flautist, is playing his flute one evening on Ichihara moor. Unknown to him, the villain Hakamadare Yasusuke is creeping up to steal his sumptuous robe. At the last minute Yasusuke is so captivated by the beauty of the music that he abandons his plan. It turns out he is Yasumasa’s brother and is given a fine set of robes. Published by Iseya Rihei (Kinjudo) c. 1815.

 

Very good impression and colour. Trimmed round. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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A triptych, Takanawa tsuki no kei, “Moon at Takanawa” from a set Edo meisho shiki no nagame, “Famous Places of Edo in the Four Seasons.” Shows beauties on the veranda of an inn overlooking the bay. Takanawa was a popular place to visit with views on a clear day of the Boso mountains across Edo Bay. Hiroshige depicted this area many times. Published by Maruya Jimpachi (Enjudo), 1847-8.

 

Very fine impression. Fine colour. Minor trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Katsukawa SHUNTEI (1770-1820)



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A triptych showing the killing of the giant Earth Spider in its cave. These Tsuchigumo were a form of spider-like yokai. Minamoto no Yorimitsu’s (aka Raiko, 948-1021) retainers (The Four Heavenly Kings) are shown holding the spider down with the trunk of a large tree: Sakata no Kintoki, on first sheet, Watanabe no Tsuna, in the centre, and Urabe no Suetake and Usui Sadamitsu on last sheet (on the left). It is said that when the spider was killed that 1990 dead victims emerged from its stomach. This was a popular story covered by many artists. Published by Enomotoya Kichibei, c. 1808. Rare.

 

Very good impression and colour. Small backed binding holes, otherwise very good condition. Signed Shuntei ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A triptych showing Fujiwara no Hidesato being accompanied by a retinue of fish, octopuses and lobsters as he leaves the Dragon King’s Palace with the presents of inexhaustible rice, bolts of cloth, and a bell in gratitude for killing the centipede of Mount Mikami. Ryugujo Tawara Toda Hidesato ni sanshu no tosan o okura. Published by Maruya Kyushiro, 1858.

 

Very good impression. Good colour. Some light toning and soil. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYASU (1794-1832)



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A triptych Soshu Enoshima Benzaiten Iwaya narabi sairei no zu, “Picture of Iwaya, the Main Shrine, Pilgrims to the Display of Benzaiten at Enoshima.” Enoshima island was a popular place to visit with the Iwaya caves and the shrine of the Buddhist goddess Benzaiten (Benten), goddess of the arts, entertainment and wealth, and one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune. A fascinating print showing a multitude of various visitors. Published by Kawaguchiya Uhei, late 1820s. Rare.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Kuniyasu ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Four cats, the first sheet of a triptych Tatoe zukushi no uchi, “Proverbs Illustrated by Cats.” Examples being: “Bonito to a cat,” “Coin to a cat,” “Not even a cat would eat it.” Published 1852 by Kagaya Yasubei. Bob-tailed and calico cats were common in the Edo period. It is well known that Kuniyoshi was a cat-lover and Yoshimune, one of his pupils, relates how they were allowed to run around his studio and when a cat died he would have it sent to a nearby temple. He also had a Buddhist altar erected in his home for his deceased cats. Another pupil of Kuniyoshi’s was Kyosai and he depicts the chaotic studio with cats and other artists milling around in his illustrated book Kyosai kadan, part II, vol. 3, of 1887. Of the utmost rarity: I have not catalogued another sheet from this triptych in 50 years.

 

Very fine impression and colour. One minor blemish, otherwise very fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga. (All the cats have blind-printing on their coats which is not apparent on the illustrated examples of this print. Possibly due to the reproductive process.)

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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An uncut fan print. Moon from a setsugekka set of famous views of Edo. Shows the interior of a teahouse. Published 1849-53 by Ibaya Sensaburo.

 

 

Very good impression and colour. Restored centre bottom and other minor imperfections, but otherwise good condition. Signed Hiroshige ga. Very rare: Seemingly only two other impressions extant.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)



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An uncut fan print, Ryogokubashi natsu no kei, “View of Ryogoku Bridge in the Summer” from a set Hana no Edo go-ohashi, “Five Major Bridges of Edo.” Shows a beauty on the bridge with fireworks exploding above. Fireworks became so popular in the summer that the authorities had to limit them to the river. Published by Kojimaya Jubei !843-46.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Minor soil, otherwise very good condition. Signed Kochoro Kunisada ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Matsui KEICHU (Active 1785-1819)




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A wonderful original painting, full colour on silk, image size 35 x 12.75 in; 89 x 32.5 cms. Shows three of the leading actors around 1800: Segawa Kikunojo III (above); Iwai Kumesaburo I (below left); Ichikawa Hakuen I (below right). The first two onnagata dressed in female attire. Kikunojo is the subject of the famous bust portrait by Sharaku showing him as Oshizu, the wife of Tanabe Bunzo. Hakuen (Ichikawa Danjuro V) was one of the most famous and popular actors of his time. He is having tea served to him from a teapot by Kumesaburo watched by Kikunojo. Keichu, a Nagasaki painter, is known for his famous painting of a tiger cleaning its paw in the Minneapolis Institute of Art. A highly accomplished painting in very good condition. Sealed Matsui Keichu.
Status: Sold

 

 




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Katsushika TAITO II (Active c. 1810-1853)



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An original fan painting, sumi and light colour on prepared paper, 7.5 x 21.5 in; 19 x 54.5 cms. Shows a badger disguised as a priest. This is the same story as is illustrated in Yoshitoshi’s Shingata sanjurokkaisen, “Thirty-six Supernatural Beings in New Forms” showing the badger at Morinji Temple that could turn itself into a teakettle. Taito II was given the go of Taito by Hokusai, whose pupil he was, in 1820. The fan has the original rib marks and has minor wear, but is in generally good condition. The paper treated with mica. Signed Taito hitsu with Hyaku seal.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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A chu-tanzaku print, Natsu, Ryogoku no tsuki, “Summer Moon at Ryogoku Bridge” from a set Shiki Koto meisho, “Famous Views of Edo in the Four Seasons.” Published by Kawaguchiya Shozo, 1834-5.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Kobayashi KIYOCHIKA (1847-1915)



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A triptych, Akechi Samanosuke Mitsuhara kosui joho Karasaki matsu no zu. Shows Akechi Samanosuke Mitsuhara swimming with his horse and with his kikyo (Chinese bell flower) standard tied to his back across Lake Biwa to his cousin’s house at Sakamoto where he kills Mitsuhide’s wife and children to prevent them being captured. The Karasaki pine can be seen in the background. The event takes place in 1582. One of Kiyochika’s best designs. Published 1899.

 

Very fine impression. Fine colour and condition. Signed Kiyochika hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Suzuki HARUNOBU (1724-1770)



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A pillar print showing a young dandy holding an Odawara lantern on entering a Shinto shrine. One leg of the Torii is in the background behind a hinoki tree. Another impression is illustrated in The Japanese Pillar Print, Hashira-e, Jacob Pins, Robert G. Sawers publishing, 1982, 184a, p. 118 which also shows a variant impression with a night sky, 184b.

 

Very good impression. Good colour for a pillar print: This format is notorious for fading and browning. Very good condition. Signed Suzuki Harunobu ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Ryusai SHIGEHARU (1803-1853)



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The actor Nakamura Utaemon III as the ghost of Taira no Tomomori in the play Yoshitsune senbon zakura, “Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees.” Famous for tying himself to an anchor and jumping into the sea at the battle of Dan-no-Ura (1185). Performed at the Kado Theatre, 5/1831. An Osaka print published by Wataya Kihei.

 

Fine impression and colour. Very good condition. Signed Gyokuryutei Shigeharu ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Nishikawa SUKENOBU (1671-1751)



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A client taking leave from his paramour, her assistant stands back holding small presents. Sukenobu was born, lived and died in Kyoto. Apart from some paintings and prints, his extensive output was in the form of illustrated books, and albums. The example here is from one of these albums. Always in sumi, without colour.

 

 

Very good impression. Some expertly repaired wormage and centre fold (as usual).

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Isoda KORYUSAI (1735-1790)



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The courtesan Matsunoi of the Matsubaya with her kamuro. From a large series Hinagata wakana no hatsu moyo, “Models for Fashion: New Year Designs as Fresh as Young Leaves.” Published by Eijudo and Juzaburo in the late 1770s. This set is the largest known bijin series (140 prints being known). However, the quality is consistent throughout. One of the great sets.

 

Fine impression with excellent colour. Minor soil, otherwise very good condition. Signed Buko Yagenbori inshi, Koryu ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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