Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)

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Six cats, the last 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 had not catalogued another sheet from the triptych until the last year.


Superb impression with extensive blind-printing on the cat’s coats. Fine colour. Slight centre fold and light backing, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


Status: Sold


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