Highlights of some catalogue items

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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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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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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A triptych of the Ink Wars, Bokusen no zu. Evidently a court pastime during the Nara period (710-794) was to stage ink battles. Courtiers are involved in throwing ink and daubing each other with brushes. Published by San, 1843.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi giga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A night scene illuminated by a band of light from a hand-lantern. Shows Ushiwaka-maru (Yoshitsune) battling with the outlaw priest Kumasada Chohan and his band of thieves who were attempting to rob the inn where Yoshitsune was staying. Published by Ibaya Sensaburo, c. 1839-41. A fine design.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Ittosai MASANOBU (active c1849-1853)




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The actor Kataoka Gado II as Honchomaru Tsunagoro in the play Honcho itoya no musume performed at the Chikugo theatre in 8/1849. From the set: Date kurabe kyokaku den, “A Comparison of the Stylishness of Famous Gallants”.


Fine deluxe surimono-style impression and colour. Margin trimmed to black line at left, otherwise fine condition on deluxe hosho. Signed Kunimasa monjin Masuharu ga ( “Masanobu pupil of Kunimasu” ).



Status: Available

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1797-1861)




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A fine and interesting original painting, full colour on silk, 11.25 x 20.25 in; 28.5 x 51.5 cms. Shows a reclining beauty looking up at a cuckoo (hototogisu) flying in clouds. The cuckoo is the harbinger of the summer months. This painting, made c 1830, reflects Kunisada’s study, together with Ikkei, of the work of Hanabusa Itcho (1652-1724). Indeed, Ikkei gave Kunisada the name Hanabusa Ittai and this painting is signed Hanabusa Itcho Kunisada ga with seal Hanabusa Ittai Kunisada no in. To the bottom left is an inscription reading “A disciple of Utagawa Kunisada drawn on request [the cuckoo].” There is a small seal but it is undecipherable.

 

Minor marks but in generally very good condition. Touches of gold and the gofun on the face well retained. Newly mounted with new box.

 

Status: Available

 




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Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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Echikawa from Kisokaido rokujukyutsugi no uchi, “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 the Echi river with a trestle bridge crossing it. In the foreground a laden oxen being led and two peripatetic priests.

 

Fine impression and colour. Imperceptible centre fold, otherwise very good condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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An extremely rare aiban print showing two kochi , bartail flatheads, (Platycephalus indicus) and an abalone, sea-ear, (Haliotus tuberculate). From a set of eight prints of various fish published c. late 1830s. Another impression is illustrated in Japanese Prints IV – Hiroshige and the Utagawa School, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, 1984, no. 45, p. 35.

 

Fine impression and colour. Slight soil, otherwise very good condition. Signed Hiroshige

 

Status: Available

 

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Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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An extremely rare aiban print showing a shimadai, grouper, (probably Chilodactylus zonatus) and an aji, horse-mackerel, (Caranx trachurus). From a set of eight prints of various fish published c. late 1830s.

 

Fine impression and colour. Slight soil, otherwise very good condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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2 vols. complete: Kanjaku tsuizen hanashidori, “The Liberated Birds: A Memorial Book for Kanjaku.” A memorial book for the actor Nakamura Utaemon who died in 1852. He had the literary name of Kanjaku, meaning ”playing with sparrows” and the covers and many illustrations allude to this custom of releasing birds at funerals. Vol. 1: 1st preface , 3pp. giving the biography of Utaemon IV; poem 1p. 3 sheets: calligraphy (in ishizuri), 1p.; illustrations in colour, 5pp. signed on first page Toyokuni (III). Sheets 1-8: 2nd preface, 5pp., remaining pp. text, poems and colour illustrations. Sheets 1-75 with 15 single-page and 62 double-page illustrations in sumi and light colour. Inside back cover: colophon dated Kaei 5 (1852). Vol. 2: 110 sheets of text, poems, and illustrations. 38 single-page and 50 double-page illustrations (many in colour and includes a double-page illustration by Kuniyoshi). Last page, colophon, dated Kaei 5 (1852). Original covers with clouds and sparrows. Some soil and minor damage. One title slip missing and other damaged. Contents extremely good.

 

Status: Available

 




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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: Available

 

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