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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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The actor Danjuro VIII as the ghost of Seigen from a set of prints Mitate sanjurokkasen no uchi, “An Imaginary Thirty-six Poets” published by Iseya Kanekichi in 1852. The relevant poet in this case is Ariwara no Narihira. The corrupt priest Seigen broke his vows of chastity when he fell in love with Sakurahime. Danjuro played this role in the play Yami no ume yume no tamakura, in the New Year’s programme at the Kawarazaki theatre, Edo, in 1/1853.

 

 

Very fine early impression with glue applied to the eyes. Fine colour and condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)



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A dai-oban print showing the actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX as Minister Kibi in the play Kibi Daijin Shina monogatari, “Minister Kibi, Tale of China.” The play centres on the historical minister Kibi no Makibi who joined a mission to the Tang Court in China in 716. He is supposed to have brought back to Japan the game of go, embroidery, and the secrets of the Chinese almanac. Published by Gusokuya Kahai, 1875.

 

Fine impression with gauffrage and extensive burnishing to Kibi’s black garment. Fine colour. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition, untrimmed. Signed Oju Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.

 

Status: Available

 

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Attributed to Toyoharu KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)



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An oban diptych shini-e (memorial portrait) of the famous kabuki actor Ichikawa Danjuro VII (1791-1859). Upper right is the date of his burial, Ansei 6 (1859), 3rd month, 24th day. A long inscription at left on his life. The image top right shows his great-great-great grandfather, the first Ichikawa Danjuro (1660-1704). The other image, top left, shows Danjuro VIII (1823-1854), his son, who predeceased him by 4 years. See Waseda University Theatre Museum, acc. Nos. 114-0330 and 114-0332 (attributed to Kunichika).

 

Fine impression and colour. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition.

 

Status: Available

 

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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The actor Suketakaya Takasuke IV as Sakuramaru from a fine set of prints showing actors glimpsed through their dressing room sliding doors, prior to going on stage. Their figures partly silhouetted as are their assistants, here aiding the actor with his sword. From a set Gakuya nikai kage no hyoban, “Popularity of the Upstairs Dressing Room.” The set published by Takagawa Fusajiro, 1883.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Full size. Signed Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.

 

Status: Available

 

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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The actor Onoe Kikugoro V as Hisayoshi from a fine set of prints showing actors glimpsed through their dressing room sliding doors, prior to going on stage. Their figures partly silhouetted as are their assistants, here aiding the actor with his costume. From a set Gakuya nikai kage no hyoban, “Popularity of the Upstairs Dressing Room.” The set published by Takagawa Fusajiro, 1883.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Full size. Signed Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.

 

Status: Available

 

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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The actor Onoe Taganojo II from a fine set of prints showing actors glimpsed through their dressing room sliding doors, prior to going on stage. Their figures partly silhouetted as are their assistants, here aiding the actor with his headpiece. From a set Gakuya nikai kage no hyoban, “Popularity of the Upstairs Dressing Room.” The set published by Takagawa Fusajiro, 1883.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Full size. Signed Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA II (1823-1880)



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The actor Segawa Kikunojo V in the role of Ama Myochin, the Cat Witch, from the set Hakkenden inu no soshi no uchi, the Eight Dog Heroes, published by Tsutaya Kichizo, 5/1852. The play was premiered at the Ichimuraza Theatre, 1/1852. This is the highlight of the play: The monstrous cat murders the father of the dog hero Inamura Kakutaro and then assumes his likeness. However, as shown here, its hairy body and giant claws can still be seen behind the bamboo curtain. The best design from the set.

 

Fine impression and colour. Minor trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyosai Kunisada ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Toyohara CHIKANOBU (1838-1912)



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A fine triptych showing the actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1838-1903) as the priest Mongaku Shonin. The priest is shown, with Buddhist bell in hand, beneath the freezing waters of the Nachi Waterfall doing penance for inadvertently killing his cousin and lover, Kesa Gozen. Eventually the deity Fudo Myo-o takes pity on him and helps him through the ordeal. Danjuro also played the role of Fudo Myo-o in this performance of the play Hashi kuyo bonji no Mongaku, “The Austerities of Mongaku” at the Ichimuraza Theatre, May 1883. The Danjuro family worshipped the deity Fudo Myo-o. Published by Morimoto Junzaburo, 1883. This must have been a particularly successful performance as there are a number of prints commemorating it and it is listed as one of the great roles of his canon.

 

Fine impression and colour. One careful area of restoration, otherwise very good condition. Signed Yoshu Chikanobu fude.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825)




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A pupil of Toyoharu, he is best known for his fine actor prints at the end of the 18th century. He had many pupils. A koban surimono showing Ichikawa Danjuro VII in Shibaraku with the voluminous costume and chikara gami “strength papers” sticking up at the back of his wig. Issued for the New Year 1810 (confirmed by the characters hatsu-ushi [“the first year of the ox”] in the first line of the left-hand poem). Interestingly, Danjuro did perform Shibaraku in the play Misao no hana toba koizuka at the Ichimura-za theatre just a couple of months before (11th month, 1809). The role name being Kaneomaru.

 

Very good impression and colour. Minor toning, otherwise very good condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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Matsumoto Koshiro V as the evil retainer Nikki Danjo who plots to overthrow his lord in the play Meiboku sendai hagi, “Precious Incense and the Bush Clover of Sendai.” From the last great actor set which was planned as a monument to his career and only used the most expensive materials. An untitled set with seventy-two prints completed on his death. ( One hundred and fifty were intended and some are in fact by Yoshitora. ) This is one of the best designs from the set showing a fine profile of an actor who was nicknamed Hanataka Koshiro, “Big-nosed Koshiro.” He made this role very much his own and to this day many actors still wear a mole on their foreheads in his honour. Published 1863 by Kinshodo.


Very fine impression. Fine colour with extensive burnishing to the hair. On thick hosho and with the extra large margins of the first issues before being bound into albums. Slight soil at edge of margins, top and bottom, otherwise very good condition. Signed Nanajuhassai ( “At the age of seventy-eight” ) Toyokuni ga.



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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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Flowers from a set of three triptychs showing half-length portraits of actors based on the Snow, Moon, Flowers theme. Shows the actor Ichikawa Sadanji as Gosho no Gorozo, the main character in the play Soga moyo tateshi no goshozome, “The Story of Gorozo, the Chivalrous Commoner.” A complex story which ends with Gorozo killing his old master’s lover, the courtesan Oshu. Published by Akiyama Buemon, 1890.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Yoshitoshi.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Katsukawa SHUNSHO (1726-1792)




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A hosoban of the actor Otani Hiroji III in the role of a samurai, one sword drawn with the scabbard lying at his feet. Published c 1776.

 

Fine impression. Very good colour. Fine condition. Signed Shunsho ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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The actor Nakamura Shikan IV as Daizen from a fine set of prints showing actors glimpsed through their dressing room sliding doors, prior to going on stage. Their figures partly silhouetted as are their assistants, here aiding the actor with his headpiece. From a set Gakuya nikai kage no hyoban, “Popularity of the Upstairs Dressing Room.” The set published by Takagawa Fusajiro, 1883.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Full size. Signed Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Katsukawa SHUNSHO (1729-1792)




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A hosoban showing the actor Arashi Sangoro II in the role of Ito Kuro disguised as Banta in the play Izu-goyomi shibai no ganjitsu performed at the Morita Theatre, 11/1772. He holds a brazier aloft and stands in deep snow.

 

Fine impression. Pristine colour. Small thinned area at top, otherwise fine condition. Full size. Signed Shunsho ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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An untrimmed aiban fan print showing the actor Nakamura Shikan II on an outing to view the summer fireflies. Ukiyo hotarugari, “Firefly Viewing in the Floating World.” Published by Ibaya Kyubei, 1831.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Kochoro Kunisada ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI (1769-1825)




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A print from the series Mitate Kofukujin, “ A Parody of Children’s Gods.” Featured are two of the seven gods of good fortune compared to famous heroes. Top left: Bishamonten no mitate, Tawara Toda Hidesato (Tawara Toda Hidesato defeating the giant centipede, compared to the god Bishamon). Bottom right: Daikoku no mitate, Otokonosuke, Hakuen (Ichikawa Hakuen I in the role of Arajishi Otokonosuke, compared to the god Daikoku). Hakuen (formerly Danjuro V) had already retired by this date so this does not depict an actual performance. However, the hero Otokonosuke is famous from the play Meiboku Sendai Hagi. Published 1804 by Nishimuraya Yohachi.

Very good impression and color. Small corner repair and slight edge soil, otherwise good condition. Signed Ichiyosai Toyokuni ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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A fine set of prints showing actors preparing backstage for their performances. Haiyu gakuya no omokage, “Images of Actors in the Green Rooms.” Here Ichikawa Danjuro IX is shown in dressing gown being fanned by an attendant (off picture). Published 1888 by Sasaki Toyokichi.


Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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A fine set of prints showing actors preparing backstage for their performances. Haiyu gakuya no omokage , “Images of Actors in the Green Rooms.” Here Nakamura Fukusuke IV is shown preparing to put on makeup while an attendant (off picture) holds up what is presumably a supporter’s banner. Published 1888 by Sasaki Toyokichi.


Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Anonymous



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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: Sold

 

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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: Sold

 

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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: Sold

 




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Ippitsusai BUNCHO (Fl. c. 1765-1792)



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A hosoban showing the actor Ichikawa Raizo II as Kanesashi Goro Katsuhide in the play Kawaranu hanasakae hachi no ki, “The Ever-Blooming Potted Tree.” Performed at the Nakamura-za Theatre in 11/1769. Extremely rare: Another impression is illustrated in an Exhibition of Ukiyo-e by Ippitsusai Buncho, Riccar Art Museum, 1978, no. 40. Their example is annotated on the top left: Meiwa 6 nen, kaomise, Kanesashi Goro, Ichikawa Raizo. The kaomise production was always in the 11th month and was quite literally the “face showing” of actors for the coming season. There are a considerable number of hosobans annotated in the same hand around this time – obviously by an avid theatre goer. Buncho was the pre-eminent designer of hosobans in the second half of the 18th century. He subsequently became a samurai. He was also a painter and, together with Shunsho, produced the fine three volume book Ehon butai ogi of stage actors in 1770.

 

Superb impression, colour and condition: As the day it was printed. Signed Ippitsusai Buncho ga with seal Mori uji (offset as on the Riccar impression).

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI (1769-1825)



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Segawa Kikunojo III as the courtesan Kojoro of the Mikuni House (Mikuni Kojoro) and Arashi Sanpachi I as her elder brother Kujuro (Kojoro ani Kujuro) in the play Tomigaoka koi no yamabiraki by Namiki Gohei performed at the Kin-za in the 1st month of 1798. The design shows the evil cormorant fisherman Ugai Kujuro attempting to extract money from his younger sister whom he had previously sold into prostitution. He is eventually murdered by the hero Shimbei who is in love with Kojoro. Published by Nishimuraya Yohachi. Rare: A faded example in B.M. (1906, 1220, 0.391). And another faded impression in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, acc. No. 11.13701. One of the great Toyokuni double bust portraits.

 

Fine impression and colour. Very slight trimming at bottom, otherwise fine condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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A vertical oban triptych showing Onoe Kikugoro V as Okiku’s ghost, above, and Ichikawa Danjuro IX as Asayama Tessan from the play Sarayashiki kesho no sugatami, “Mansion of Plates” performed at the Kabuki-za 1892. A famous ghost story with different versions. The gist is that Okiku was a maid at the mansion of the samurai Aoyama Tessan. He attempts to seduce her without luck and as an act of revenge hides one of ten valuable Dutch plates, claiming that she has stolen one. In remorse, she drowns herself in a neighbour’s well. Her ghost appears every night, sobbing and groaning, eventually causing Aoyama to go insane. Published by Fukuda Kumajiro, 1892.

 

Superb impression, colour and condition. Signed Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Katsukawa SHUNSHO (1726-1792)



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An exceptional hosoban showing the actor Nakamura Tomijuro I in the role of a courtesan. Published c. 1771 and the influence of Harunobu can be seen. Probably the centre panel of a triptych.

 

Superb impression on thick hosho with the outlines of the figure in relief, similar to the best Harunobu prints of a few years earlier. Very fine unfaded colour. Fine condition. Signed Miyagawa Shunsho. (A signature I have not seen before: He did study under Miyagawa Shunsui early on.)

 

Status: Sold

 

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Rantokusai SHUNDO (Active c.1770-1790)



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A hosoban showing the actor Nakamura Sukegoro II as Sasano Sangobei (an otokodate – chivalrous commoner) in part two of the play Iro moyo aoyagi Soga, “Green Willow Soga of Erotic Design.” Performed at the Nakamura Theater 2/1775. Shundo was an early pupil of Shunsho’s and this fine design is comparable to the best that Shunsho produced. The left sheet of a diptych. The complete (faded) design is illustrated in The Actor’s Image, Clark & Ueda, A.I.C., 1994, no. 135, p. 358/9. Rare.

 

Fine impression. Fine, totally unfaded colour. Fine condition. Signed Rantokusai Shundo ga with Hayashi in jar-shaped seal.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)



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A vertical diptych showing the actor Onoe Kikugoro V in the role of Komamonoya Saijiro, “Saijiro of the haberdashery store,” fighting a giant serpent in the play Inaba Kozo ame no yobanashi performed at the Nakamura-za theatre in 11/1887. Published by Fukuda Kumajiro, 1887. Evidently the actor was swallowed whole during this scene ! An extremely rare print.

 

Fine impression and colour. Extensive mica on the serpent’s head and body. Fine condition with the publication details intact on the left margin. Ample room for joining the two sheets. Signed Oju Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)



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A dai-oban print showing the actor Kawarazaki Gonjuro I (Ichikawa Danjuro IX) in the role of Hanakawado no Sukeroku, an otokodate (chivalrous commoner) in the play Sukeroku yukari no Edo zakura, “Sukeroku, the Flower of Edo.” This play was performed at the Ichimura Theatre, Edo in 3/1862 and this print was published by Ebisuya Shoshichi the previous month to advertise the play. The storyline is based after the exploits of Soga no Goro and was one of the Kabuki juhachiban compiled by Ichikawa Danjuro VII for the family repertoire.

 

Fine impression with burnishing on the costume. Fine colour. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition. Untrimmed. Signed Ki-o Toyokuni ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Katsukawa SHUNKO (1743-1812)



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An hosoban showing the actors Ichikawa Danzo IV as Doi no Yataro (above) and Ichikawa Raizo II as Kojiro Masahira (below) in the play Kaomise Ama no Iwato, performed at the Nakamura-za theatre 11/1774. A fine design.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Shunko ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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A vertical diptych showing the actor Onoe Baiko III in the role of the vengeful and disfigured spirit of Kasane above Sawamura Tossho I as her husband Kinoshitagawa Yoemon. From the play Kuruwa kruwa date no ooyose performed at the Ichimura-za theatre 1836. Published by Kawaguchiya Chozo, 1836. Extremely rare.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Very good condition. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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The actor Ichikawa Kodanji IV in the role of the vengeful and disfigured spirit of Kasane (Kasane no Bokon) from a set of prints Mitate sanjurokkasen no uchi, “An Imaginary Thirty-six Poets” published by Iseya Kanekichi in 1852. The relevant poet in this case is Fujiwara Toshiyuki no Ason.

 

 

Very fine early impression with glue applied to the eyes. Fine colour and condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A diptych showing the actors Bando Shuka (left) as O-kaji, wife of Danshichi, with sword drawn attacking Seki Sanjuro III as the old hag, wife of Giheiji of Mikawa-cho in pouring rain. From the play Shinzo Tsurifune kidan performed at the Ichimura theatre, 5/1852. Published by Kakumotoya Kinjiro. Kuniyoshi designed another version of this play in the same year for another publisher.

 

Fine impression and colour. Very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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A triptych showing the actor Ichikawa Sandanji I as Akiyama Kiimori amidst an intense conflagration started in an attempt to capture him, Yakuchi no ba. From the series Meiijiza shinkyogen, “New Plays from the Meiji Theatre.” Published by Akiyama Buemon , 1894.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. The sheets joined. Signed Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Taiso YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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The actor Onoe Kikugoro V as Aoyagi Harunosuke from a fine and rare set of 14 actor prints: Seiu kandankei, “A Barometer of Emotions.” This being Full Tide. The set published by Okura Magobei, 1877. Presumably showing Kikugoro in the play Shianui Monogatari written by Ryukatei Tanekazu; Ryutei Tanehiko II; and Ryusuitei Tanekiyo. The actor was a great friend of Yoshitoshi.

 

Very good impression and colour. Slight soil and creasing, otherwise good condition. Signed Oju Yoshitoshi hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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A full-on image of the actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX as Kamakura Gongoro Kagemasa in the Shibaraku play with the voluminous costume associated with the role. Title: Kabuki juhachiban no uchi/Shibaraku, “The Eighteen Famous Kabuki Plays:Shibaraku.” Kunichika made a number of prints, single, diptych and triptych, of this subject but this particular design is rare. Published by Mizuno Asajiro, c. 1895.

 

Very good impression and colour. Background partly blind-printed. Slight trimming losing publishing information on left edge of last sheet and slight soil. Otherwise good condition. Signed Oju Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Katsukawa SHUN’EI (1762-1819)




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A hosoban diptych complete showing Ichikawa Monnosuke II ( left sheet ) as Soga no Goro and Sawamura Sojuro III ( right sheet ) as Soga no Juro in the play Shunshoku Edo-e Soga performed at the Ichimura-ya in the first month of 1791. Published by Harimaya Shinshichi. Most hosoban multiples have become separated over time.


Very good impression, colour and condition. Completely untrimmed. Signed Shun’ei ga.


Status: Sold

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Kitao SHIGEMASA (1739-1820)



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A hosoban showing the actors Ichikawa Komazo II (above right) in the role of Honcho Tsunagoro and Otani Hiroemon II (below) as Hantoki Kuroemon. The play was the second item (nibanme) on the programme which came after the first play Hatsuakinai omise Soga performed at the Nakamura-za Theatre, Spring 1767. The shop sign behind the actors reads Kinoeneya. Published by Miyaji, 1767.

 

Fine impression. Slight fading, otherwise very good colour and condition. Signed Kitao Shigemasa ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI (1769-1825)



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An actor portrait showing Matsumoto Koshiro V (standing) in the role of Banzui Chobei and Bando Mitsugoro III as Shira Gonpachi next to a kago in Sakurada Jisuke I’s play Banzuin Chobei shojin manaita. Performed at the Nakamura-za 7/8/1803. Published by Nishimuraya Yohachi.

 

Very good impression and condition. Grey ground. Almost perfect colour. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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A complete diptych showing the huge figure of the actor Ichimura Uzaemon XIII as Kozo Kikunosuke , a young thief, fighting the police on the roof of the Gokuraku-ji Temple. This is the culmination and Act V of the play Benten Kozo performed at the Ichimura-za Theatre, March 1862. Published by Shobundo, 3/1862. Rare: not listed in Keyes.

 

Fine impression and colour. Very lightly backed, otherwise fine condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Torii KIYOMITSU (1735-1785)



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Shows the standing figure of the kabuki actor Ichimura Kamezo I as Wankyu in the play Furiwakamura suehiro Genji which according to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which has another impression (no.21.8149), was staged at the Ichimura theatre, 11th month, 1760. But I have been unable to verify this. Certainly the date fits as Kamezo became Ichimura Uzayemon IX in 1762. Benizuri-e and a pale blue-grey. Published by Igaya Kan’emon.

 

Very good impression and colour. Very slight surface soil, otherwise very good condition. Signed Torii Kiyomitsu ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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