Highlights of some catalogue items

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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.

 

Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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A snow scene: Yushima Tenjin sakaue chobo, “Hilltop View, Yushima Tenjin Shrine.” The shrine is dedicated to scholars and is near Ueno Park. From the set Meisho Edo hyakkei, “One Hundred Views of Edo.” The set published by Uoya Eikichi 1856-58 (this being 1856). The set comprises 118 prints by Hiroshige and another by Hiroshige II. However, three prints are dated 10/1858, the month following Hiroshige’s death, and these are thought to be by Hiroshige II as well. They are: Ueno Yamashita, Ichigaya Hachiman and Bikunibashi.

 

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Hiroshige hitsu.

 

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Kozuke, Harunasan setchu, “Kozuke [Province], Mount Haruna Under Snow.” From a set of 69 prints [Dai Nihon] Rokujuyoshi meisho zue, “Famous Places in the Sixty-odd Provinces [of Japan]” published by Koshihei between 1853 and 1856, this being 1853. A red bridge spans a gorge with precipitous cliffs and a fast flowing river. Fantastic crags point upwards into the sky. In the distance is Mount Haruna – a sleeping volcano.

 

Very fine impression and colour. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Mimasaka, Yamabushidani, “Mimasaka [Province], Yamabushi Valley.” Travellers caught in heavy wind and rain in the valley. Hiroshige II also produced an excellent version of this design. From a set of 69 prints [Dai Nihon] Rokujuyoshi meisho zue, “Famous Places in the Sixty-odd Provinces [of Japan]” published by b Koshimuraya Heisuke between 1853 and 1856, this being 1853.

 
 

Very fine impression and colour. Light album backing and very small wormhole at extreme edge of margin, top left, otherwise fine condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 
 

Status: Available

 
 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Kisoji no Yamagawa, “Mountain River on the Kiso Road.” One of Hiroshige’s most iconic images: Snow from an untitled set of three Setsugekka (“Snow, Moon, Flowers”) triptychs. The other two being Moon at Kanazawa and Whirlpools at Awa. The Setsugekka theme was taken from a poem by Tang dynasty poet Bai Juyi (Haku Rakuten). It’s a metonym for beautiful views, etc. This part of the Kiso Road was particularly treacherous but it’s not possible to identify the exact location and Hiroshige most likely used a certain amount of artist’s license. Published by Okasawaya Taheiji, 1857, a year before his death.

 
 

Fine impression and colour. Centre sheet lightly backed and slightly trimmed, otherwise very good condition. Signed Hiroshige hitsu with Bokurin Shokoku seal.

 
 

Status: Available

 
 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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The best design from a set of half-length otokodate figures: Kuniyoshi moyo shofuda tsuketari genkin otoko, “Men of Ready Money with True Labels Attached, Kuniyoshi Fashion.” Here showing Danshichi Kurobei emptying a bucket of water over himself. Danshichi was a fishmonger in the city of Sakai who murdered somebody in the mid-winterof 1697, the body only being discovered when the snow melted. He is often depicted pouring water over his head, although there are also versions where he commits the crime in a swamp. Published by Ibaya Kyubedi, 1845. Poem by Hoshitei.

 

 

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

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Koshibe no Sugaru amidst a thunderbolt and lightning captures a raiju (thunder monster) in the village of Toyora. Toyora no sato ni rai o torau. Its body was composed of lightning and usually in the form of a wolf or dog. Its cry sounded like thunder. Raiju is the companion of Raijin, the Shinto god of lightning. Although normally tranquil, during thunderstorms it became agitated and attacked trees. (Those that are struck by lightning are said to have been scratched by Raiju’s claws.) He presented it to the Emperor. Published by Nishimura-ya Yohachi, c. 1834-5. Robinson SIc.2. A wonderful design.

 

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

 

Status: Available

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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A triptych from a set of ten: Dai Nippon shiryaku zue, “Short Illustrated History of Great Japan.” Each print is in the form of an unrolled makimono. This design shows the third son of the twelfth century Emperor Keiko, Yamato Takeru no mikoto (Wo-usu). His father was constantly sending him on dangerous missions making him suspect that he wished his death. One such journey was to the Emishi in northeast Japan. On complaining about this to his high-priestess aunt, Yamatohime, she gave him the famous sword Ame no murakumo no hoken to aid him. On his arrival, the ruler of the Emishi lured him onto open grassland which he set on fire. Wo-usu used his sword to cut the grass, evade death, and start new fires to kill his enemy. Published by Kobayashi, 1880. A fine design.

 

Fine impression of first edition. Fine colour. Very slight crease bottom margin of centre sheet, otherwise fine condition. Signed Taiso Yoshitoshi.

 

Status: Available

 

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Taiso YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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A triptych showing an exploding land-mine throwing bodies and horses into the ether. Taiheiki Masakiyo nansen no zu, “Masakiyo’s Difficult Battle from the Taiheiki.” Figures identified in the print are the 14th century warriors Sato Shukei no Kami Masakiyo and Shimura Masazo Katsutoyo, but by way of avoiding censorship, it is actually showing Kato Kiyomasa (1562-1611) and Kimura Matazo Shigekatsu. It may also be that the design alludes to the rogue samurai in Choshu Province during the summer of 1866. Published by Yamashiroya Jinbei, 1866. One of Yoshitoshi’s great designs. In fact, this is a reworking of a similar composition in a book early in his career, Ehon jitsugokyo dojikyo yoshu of 1853.

 

Fine impression and colour. Lovely oxidation of the orange pigment. Fine condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu.

 

Status: Available

 

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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A cho-oban (20 x 6.75 inches) print showing beauties fishing. The top figure has caught a crayfish. Each design interprets a haiku poem in red, top right. A set of 6 prints published by Matsui Eikichi, 1893. Rare.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Slight creasing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.

 

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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One of a set: Edo Murasaki meisho Genji, “Murasaki’s Genji in Famous Places of Edo.” Mitate Ukifune Sumidagawa no watashi, “A Parody of Ukifune Crossing the Sumida River.” Shows a beauty on a ferry crossing the Sumida River in heavy snow, representing Ukifune, one of the court ladies of the Genji Monogatari. Stylised clouds above and below copying the traditional kiri-gane gold found on Yamato-e scrolls. These Genji pictures were popular at this time to circumvent the reforms of 1842. Published by Kinseido (his seal also appearing on the umbrella bottom right). Rare.

 

Fine impression. Very good colour. Lower margin trimmed close, otherwise very good condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Kubo SHUNMAN (1757-1820)



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Chobu, Province of Musashi from an exquisite set of six prints showing graceful young women, girls and, in two instances, young men representing the Six Crystal (Tama) Rivers. These streams were noted for the purity of their water. The prints are in benigirai style, “red avoiding,” a technique pioneered by Shunman, Eishi and Shuncho.Shows a girl washing stripes of cloth in the stream. In fact, this design conjoins with the previous print in the set of six prints. Shunman, a man of great sophistication, designed only a few prints before concentrating on surimono and printing and issuing some of the finest in this format. (See The Japanese Print: A New Approach, J. Hillier, pp. 102-104 where he says “Probably no artist except Choki has achieved so high a reputation on such a small number of prints.”) He also excelled at painting, book illustration and light verse. Published by Fushimiya Zenroku, c 1787. (A later edition was published by Tsutaya with less harmonious colours.) One of the most beautiful 18th century sets, and together with a night triptych showing people returning from a poetry reading, is considered his masterpiece. The complete set (trimmed) is illustrated in the Gale Catalogue Of Japanese Paintings & Prints, J. Hillier, Routledge, 1970, number 133 (a) – (f). Provenance: Originally purchased from me in 2008. Rare.

 

Fine impression with some blind-printing. Very good colour: printed only in tones of grey, light yellow and light pink, with touches of light red on the tree. Very small repaired wormhole, otherwise extremely good condition with extra paper at left. Probably untrimmed (whereas illustrated examples all seem to be trimmed somewhere). Signed Shunman with seal Shunman.

 

Status: Available

 

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Kikugawa EIZAN (1787-1867)



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A triptych Furyu onna ryoushi, “Fashionable Fishing Women.” Shows beauties on the seashore collecting fish and loading them onto a boat for market. In the background, fishermen with nets. Published by Iwatoya Kisaburo (Eirindo), c 1817. The Japanese love seafood and, being surrounded by water, there is an abundance of fish and crustaceans as anyone who has visited the central fish market in Tokyo can attest to.

 

Fine impression. Very good colour. Small areas of expertly repaired wormholes, otherwise very good condition. Signed Eizan hitsu.

 

Status: Available

 

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Keisai EISEN (1790-1848)



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A triptych showing three courtesans from the Tamaya House: On first sheet Koyuki playing the kokyu; on the second Hanamurasaki playing the koto; and on the third Hanakazura playing the shamisen. Published c 1830.

 

Fine impression with excellent colour. Some expert edge restoration, otherwise very good condition with extra paper around.

 

Status: Available

 

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Mori SOSEN (1747-1821)


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An original painting, sumi and light colour on silk, 42.5 x 16 in; 108 x 40.5 cms. His life is not well documented but he is known to have studied under the Kano artist Yamamoto Joshunsai (?-1781) before being drawn into Maruyama Okyo’s (1735-1795) artistic circle and his style is more Shijo than anything else. His animal paintings were evidently highly valued by Okyo. He was an immediate favourite with eastern collectors because of his monkey paintings at which he excelled, although he was more versatile than literature implies and highly accomplished at painting other animals. But his images of monkeys take precedence and he is considered the pre-eminent painter, east or west, on this subject. It is alleged that he lived in the woods for three years eating fruit and nuts to study the monkeys and other animals, and is also supposed to have had a cage of monkeys at the back of his house to better observe them. This high quality painting shows two monkeys sitting on the branch of a cherry tree. Signed Sosen with two Sosen seals. In good condition.

 

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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.

 

 

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Kawanabe KYOSAI (1831-1889)




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A large original painting, full colour on silk, image size 48 x 21.75 in; 122 x 55.25 cms. A draughtsman of great dexterity with a wild, often bizzare , imagination. Loved sake, sometimes painting under its influence. At an early stage studied under Kuniyoshi, then Maemura Towa and later Kano Chinshin before becoming an independent painter at 27. Adept at highly finshed paintings but also produced a large corpus of spontaneous paintings. Shows a standing courtesan with her kamuro. An homage to Hokusai whom he obviously admired.

 

Highly finished in places but also incorporating quirky elements of Hokusai’s style. Signed Hokusai hitsu-i (“Imitating Hokusai’s brush”) Shojo Kyosai. In very good condition with old double box with an untranslatable annotation on inside of lid comparing him to Hokusai. An important new discovery.

 

Status: Available




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Mori SOSEN (1747-1821)



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An original painting, sumi and light colour on silk, image size 8 x 10.75 in; 20.5 x 27.5 cms. His life is not well documented but he is known to have studied under the Kano artist Yamamoto Joshunsai (? -1781) before being drawn into Mauyama Okyo’s (1735-1795) artistic circle and his style is more Shijo than anything else. His animal paintings were evidently highly valued by Okyo. He was an immediate favourite with eastern collectors because of his monkey paintings at which he excelled, although he was more versatile than literature implies and highly accomplished at drawing other animals (as here). But his images of monkeys take precedence and he is considered the pre-eminent painter, east or west, on this subject. It is alleged that he lived in the woods for three years eating fruit and nuts to study the monkeys and other animals and is also supposed to have had a cage of monkeys at the back of his house to better observe them.

 

Shows a Japanese Chin. These small dogs are supposed to have been introduced to the Japanese court from China early on but their distinctive features were developed in Japan. Signed Sosen with seals Shusho. In very good condition.

 

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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Okumura MASANOBU (1686-1764)



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One of the most influential and innovative print designers, publishers and painters. He is also credited with inventing the hashira-e as well as being the first to use multiple-block printing. A wide hashira-e (habahiro hashira-e, 24 x 6 in; 61 x 15 cms) showing the actor Sanogawa Ichimatsu I. Masanobu designed a number of prints showing this popular actor who started the fashion for the hisobi pattern on his costume which is now called the Ichimatsu moyo. Published by Masanobu c 1741. Rare.

 
 

Fine impression. Hand-applied colour: yellow, light red and light orange. Slight fading, otherwise very good condition. Signed Hogetsudo shomei Okumura Bunkaku Masanobu shohitsu, “Truly published by Hogetsudo and true brush by Okumura Masanobu” with seal Tanchosai.

 
 

Status: Available

 
 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A mitate (imaginary) triptych showing, from left to right: Onoe Kikugoro III as Takehara Genpachi; Ichikawa Ebizo V as Omura Gengo; Iwai Tojaku as Fujinami. The actors surrounding a handscroll that is emitting strong bands of light. Published by Edoya Matsugoro, c. late 1830s.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Album backing and joined sheets, otherwise fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

 

Status: Available

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Shunkosai HOKUEI (FL. 1829-1837)



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A dramatic diptych showing the actor Iwai Shijaku I as Lady Osuma shining her lantern on the actor Bando Jutaro as Sasaya Hanbei from the play Honobonoto ura no asagiri, “Daybreak Hidden on the Bay by Morning Fog.” A revenge drama performed at the Naka no Shibai, Osaka, 9/1832. Hanbei is an accomplice of the villain in the play, Karahashi Daisuke. The confrontation takes place immediately after he has murdered the fiancée of the play’s hero, Kowari Dennai, by throwing her off a cliff. He makes his escape by throwing shuriken (star-shaped throwing blades) at Osuma.

 

Very fine impression. This is a de-luxe edition of the first state “surimono-style.” The hand-stamped block cutter’s seal “surimono cut by Kasuke” bottom left of second sheet. A later edition missing seal was published by Iden. Fine colour with burnished pattern on Osuma’s costume and the poem above is written in metallic pigment. Fine condition. Signed Shunkosai Hokuei ga with seal fumoto no yuki.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa TOYOMARU (SHUNRO II) (Act. 1785-1797)



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The actor Onoe Matsusuke, probably in the role of Matsuo-maru in the play Sugawara denju tenarai kagami. Published c 1780s by Igaya Kan’emon (Bunkido).

 
 

Fine impression, colour, and condition. Signed Toyomaru ga.

 
 

Status: Available

 
 

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