Utagawa KUNIYOSHI ( 1797-1861 )



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Kwatsuyemra Genshoshichi hiding under a tiger-skin in a boat under a hail of arrows. From Tsuzoku Suikoden goketsu hyaku-hachi-nin no hitori, “The Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Popular Suikoden, One by One.” Published by Kaga-ya Kichiyemon, c 1827-30. Robinson S2.40.

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

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI ( 1797-1861 )



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Saito Toshimoto and a Chinese general struggling underwater. The second best design from Taiheiki yeiyu den, “Heroic Stories of the Taiheiki.” Published by Yamamoto-ya Heikichi, 1848-9. Robinson S62.31.

Extremely fine impression of the earliest printing. ( This is the best example I have seen of this design. ) Fine colour and condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI ( 1797-1861 )



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The last stand of the Kusunoki at Shijonawate, Shijonawate nite Nanke no eiyu taiteki o. Shows the final battle of Shijonawate in 1348 with Kusunoki Masatsura, the son of Kusunoki Masashige, under a deluge of arrows continuing his father’s struggle against the Ashikaga forces. This forms a 6-sheet composition with another triptych and Kuniyoshi also designed another triptych of the same subject. Published 1847. Unidentified publisher.

Very fine impression of the earliest printing. Very fine colour. Fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI ( 1797-1861 )



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The priest Nichiren standing on the rocky promontory at Reizan 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 ryakuzu, “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. Very good colour and condition. This design is notorious for having the umbrella trimmed off and/or the title in right margin. The printer has compensated for this by printing close to the left border. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI ( 1797-1861 )



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A triptych showing the old hag of Hitotsuya in the dilapidated house on Adachi Moor. The morbid story tells of a woman who developed cannibalistic habits for the lord of the district who required the blood of babies or young women. The hag menacies a young girl while Kannon ( to the right ), the goddess of compassion, looks on. In fact these are life-like dolls ( iki-ningyo ). There were popular exhibitions of these dolls during the mid 1850s to the late 1860s. Leading exponents being Yasumoto Kamehachi and Matsumoto Kisaburo. The latter had an exhibition in Asakusa Okuyama in 1855 and this might have been one of the exhibits. Kuniyoshi designed a number of diptychs and triptychs showing various exhibits of these dolls including others on this subject. Published 2/1855 by Yamaguchiya Tobei.

Very good impression, colour and condition. Signed Ichiyusai and Cho-o-ro Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI ( 1797-1861 )



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Kyusempo Sakucho at the battle of Peking from Tsuzoku Suikoden goketsu hyaku-hachi-nin no hitori, “The Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Popular Suikoden, One by One.” Shows the brigand wielding a huge axe and plunging through deep snow on his horse. Published by Kaga-ya Kichiyemon, c 1827-30. Robinson S2.44.

Very good impression and colour. Slight trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi 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 KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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An interesting and rare Kuniyoshi triptych showing actors relaxing in a busy teahouse. In fact this group appeared in the play Sumidagawa tsui no kagamon performed at the Ichimura-za Theatre from the 3/3/1852. Left sheet: Suzuki Mondo just stepping into the room dressed in a blue and white yukata played by Sawamura Chojuro V. Other actors are Nakamura Kanemon , Nakamura Kantaro and Arashi Jitohachi III. Centre sheet: The courtesan Shiraito of the Hashimoto-ya standing right played by Bando Shuka I. Another actor Nakamura Kamenojo. Right sheet: The thug Tsukubane Sanpei seated holding a cup played by Otani Tomoemon IV and Oyaso, Mondo’s wife, seated by an hibachi played by Onoe Kikujiro II. Another actor being Bando Matataro. Published by Yamaguchiya Tobei, 1852.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Three New Year drummers; two with lion (shishi) masks. Sumi and colour on paper, lightly laid onto card. 24.2 x 36.2 cms; 9.5 x 14.25 inches.

In good condition. Unsigned but from a group, one of which bore full signature.

Status: Available

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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An original oban (10.5 x 15 in; 26.75 x 38 cms) preparatory drawing, sumi on thin paper, for an unpublished set. Shows a warrior and attendants, one of whom is being handed a parcel of scrolls (Gohonzon ?) by a priest in a nearby hut. Possibly intended for a set based on incidents in the life of Nichiren. Ex Julius Kurth collection (1870-1949. A German priest and scholar who published many books and papers on Japanese prints and Egyptian and Near Eastern art.) Sold “as is” but in generally good condition.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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An original sumi drawing showing the two gods of good luck, Ebisu and Daikoku, fishing from a boat. A variety of sea creatures can be seen in the water. Ebisu’s fishing line has caught an octopus which has landed on Daikoku’s head. 12 x 9.25 in; 30.5 x 23.5 cms. Laid onto Japanese paper. Sold “as is” with imperfections.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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An original drawing in sumi with light red under-drawing, 9.75 x 6.75 in; 24.7 x 17.2 cms, on thin paper laid onto card. Shows a general looking down on a castle. Slight foxing. Sold “as is.” Ex Tikotin collection, seal bottom right.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A fine original sumi drawing (hanshita-e) of oban size for an unpublished set: Eiyu kumiuchi zu, “Collection of Heroes in Combat.” Has a date seal for 1856. Sumi and light colour with pentimenti on thin paper. Shows the protagonists Satsuma no Kami Tadanori, a famous general of the Taira Clan, in combat with Okabe Rokuyata Tadasumi of the Minamoto Clan during the Genpei wars of 1180-1185.

 

 

In extremely good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga. Rare.

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A fine original sumi drawing (hanshita-e) of oban size for an unpublished set, c. 1856. Sumi and light colour with extensive pentimenti on thin paper. Shows two samurai in combat. In extremely good condition.

 

 

Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga. Rare.

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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The ronin Nakamura Kansuke Masatatsu dodging a brazier of hot ash. The best design from a fine set of twelve half length portraits of the forty-seven ronin: Seicho gishi shozo, “Portraits of Faithful Samurai of True Loyalty.” The depictions borrow strongly from western portraiture including imitation western script in the green border of the title cartouche. It is not necessary to repeat the story here as it is the best known Japanese tale. Published by Sumiyoshiya Masagoro, 12/1852.

Fine impression, colour and condition. Full size and the falling ash from the brazier represented by sprayed gofun ( slight loss ). The printing on this set is exceptional with details such as the sword blades and title cartouches burnished. Signed Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A triptych showing Koman, the widowed daughter of a Lake Biwa farmer, swimming with the white banner of the Genji in her teeth towards the Taira barge of Munemori. On being picked up and finding where she was she jumped overboard but not before Sanemori cut her arm off with the banner wrapped round it. For the full story see Pointers And Clues To The Subjects Of Chinese And Japanese Art, Sampson Low Marstone & Co. Ltd., Will Edmunds, 1934, p. 451. Published By Iseya Ichibei, 1846.

Very fine impression, colour and condition. Full size. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A triptych showing Raiko attacking the Shuten-doji. A well know myth covered by numerous artists of all periods. Shuten-doji, “Great Drunken Boy” had great strength and atrocious habits, plundering the countryside around his stronghold on Oyeyama, “Devil’s Mountain.” The Emperor Murakami, losing patience, ordered Raiko to put an end to his exploits with the aid of a magic cap and poisoned sake. Raiko and his main retainers: Sakata no Kintoki, Usui no Sadamitsu, Watanabe no Tsuna, and Urabe no Suyetake stupefied the enormous hulk that was Shuten-doji and decapitated him. Depictions of this scene usually show the head flying through the air and it often has a more gruesome appearance with fangs and horns. Raiko returned in triumph with the head to Kyoto. One of Kuniyoshi’s best designs. Published c 1851-2 by Amatsu. Robinson T261. Rare.

Fine impression and colour. Some oxidation as usual. Slight trimmimg, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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The ronin Mase Magokuro Masatoki swimming to the surface surrounded by two rays and an octopus. His sword is loosely strapped around his waist. From a set Seichu gishin meimei kagami, “Mirror of the True Loyalty of the faithful Retainers, Individually.” Published by Iseya Isaburo, 1857. Robinson S90.41. A fine design.

Fine impression and colour. Extensive sprayed gofun ( oxidised ). Light discolouration top right, but otherwise good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Toshiga yottemo wakai hitoda, “Although Made of the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac, He Still Looks Young.” An extremely rare print: Another impression is illustrated in Juzo Suzuki, Kuniyoshi, 1992, no. 386. Kuniyoshi also designed a number of other such heads but composed of convoluted bodies in the style of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, three hundred years earlier. The head is composed using the Rat for the eyes; Ox: hair; Tiger: eyebrows; Hare/Rabbit: nose; Dragon: birthmark; Snake: mouth; Horse: ear; Goat/Sheep: character on costume; Cock: hair; Ape/Monkey: birthmark; Dog: head; Hog/Pig: crest on back made of tusks. Published by Ibaya Sensaburo, 1847-8.

Very good impression and colour. Some creasing,soil and minor marks. Slight trimming. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi giga.

Status: Sold

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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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The apparition of the Sea Monk, Umibozu, looming above the sailor Kawanaya Tokuzo. The best design from Tokaido gojusan tsui, Station 41, Kuwana. The legend has it that Tokuzo, against the advice of his peers, went to sea on the last day of the year. He subsequently experienced huge seas and the monster who demanded to know what was the most horrible thing he knew. He replied that his profession was the most horrid. Satisfied, the creature descended into the Stygian gloom and the storm abated. Published by Kojima-ya Jubei, c. 1845. Illustrated in Robinson, Kuniyoshi, HMSO, 1961, no. 49.

Fine, early impression with the light blue on the sea. Fine colour. Expert remargin at bottom but retaining black border. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Musashi-bo Benkei overcome by Onzoshi Ushiwaka Maru on Gojo Bridge under a full moon. Benkei was enormously tall and strong and had defeated many challengers on the bridge in Kyoto. However, he met his denouement in Yoshitsune who, although much smaller, was a fencing master. He is shown holding Benkei down with his geta, sword and large stave. From a rare set published by Tsuta-ya Kichizo, c. 1843. Robinson S1f 3.

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

Status: Sold

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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A triptych showing the Soga Brothers’ last stand in the rain on Suso Moor under Mount Fuji. Fuji no Suso-no Soga kyodai hommo wo togeru zue. Published by Yamaguchi-ya Tobei, c. 1845. A subject covered by many artists. Illustrated in Robinson, Kuniyoshi, HMSO, 1961, no. 44.

Very good impression and colour. Slightly trimmed at bottom, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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An uncut fan print of the utmost rarity with title E-kyodai awase kagami. An impossible title to translate but something like Disparate Images as Opposing Mirrors. Another from this set is illustrated in Juzo Suzuki, Kuniyoshi, 1992, pls. 421 and 422 ( from Merlin Dailey collection and also illustrated in Exhibition Of Ukiyo-e By Kuniyoshi, Riccar Art Museum, 1978, pls. 254 and 255, and elsewhere ). And another two designs are illustrated in the new Nikkei/Mori Arts Center Kuniyoshi catalogue, nos 321 and 322. These humorous prints show figures in contorted positions which, when seen in silhouette, reveal themselves as animals, crustaceans or fish. Two prints were published: as here, and the silhouette which was stuck on the reverse of the fan. The figures on this print become, in silhouette, a crab, a tortoise, and a Tosakin goldfish. I have been unable to locate another illustrated impression of this print and it may well be the only known example. Published c. late 1840’s probably by Ibaya Sensaburo as the other design from this set has this publisher’s seal.

Very fine impression, colour and condition. Mint. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi giga.

Status: Sold

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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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The best design from Genji kumo ukiyoe awase, “Ukiyoe Comparisons of the Cloudy Chapters of Genji.” A set comparing famous warriors to the Chapters of the Genji Monogotari ( Tale of Genji ) written by Lady Murasaki Shikibu ( c 973 – 1025 ). This design is for Chapter 22, Tamakatzura. Shows the pearl diver, Tamatori-hime, who has reclaimed the precious pearl stolen by the Dragon King. She is pursued by a host of his aquatic retainers including a giant octopus before finally returning the jewel to her husband Fujiwara no Kamatari, albeit buried in her chest for safety and causing her death. A popular subject with Kuniyoshi who designed a number of other oban prints and triptychs on the subject. The Dragon King’s palace can be seen beneath the waves in the background. Published by Iseya Ichibei, 1843-5.

Very good impression, colour and condition. Each sheet lightly attached. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A vision of hell. In the centre sits Enma, King of Hell, dressed as a Chinese official flanked by minions. He sits in judgement deciding whether a deceased person had been good or bad. Those found wanting are subjected to horrendous tortures, miscreants being boiled, crushed, burnt or having their tongues pulled out. Mothers in Japan were known to threaten naughty children with a visit from Enma. Kuniyoshi is known to have owned a “hell” garment which he had painted and is often pictured wearing it. Published by Tsutaya Kichizo c. mid 1830’s. Rare. Another example illustrated in the new Nikkei/Mori Arts Center Kuniyoshi catalogue, no 111.

Very good impression, colour and condition. Each sheet lightly attached. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A hand painted fan showing an Onna Daruma, a female Bodhidharma. Legend has it that Daruma reached Japan by crossing the sea on a stalk of millet and many prints depict this event but often substituting a courtesan for Daruma. Otherwise he is shown, bearded, with beetle brows and huge earrings. During the Edo period the word daruma was a slang expression for a prostitute and a darumaya was a brothel, hence the number of prints showing Daruma with courtesans. The fan has survived by being mounted onto Japanese paper. Sumi and red on a mica surface, 5.5 x 18.25 in; 14 x 46 cms. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga with kiri seal. Sold “as is” with all defects of a used fan. A rare item.

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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Shows Inudzuka Shino Moritaka defending himself against Inukai Kempachi Nobumichi and his men on the Horyukaku roof. From a set of four diptychs ( often split ) published by Nishimuraya Yohachi, c 1835. Robinson S 5.6.

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

Status: Sold

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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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The pilot and nobleman Yoshibei leaps from his vessel to a rock in the Chopping Block Shoals and sacrifices himself to save his ship off the coast of Buzen Province. Meisho Kyushu yori joraku no toki. Published c 1850 by Santetsu. A wonderful and rare triptych which is seldom illustrated. Robinson T251.

Extremely fine impression. Fine colour and condition. Totally untrimmed. Colours do not quite match across the three sheets – a common fault on 19th century triptychs. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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An unfinished otanzaku set Buyu nazorae Genji, “Selected Warriors for the Chapters of Genji.” This design illustrating Chapter 38 ( Suzumushi ) of the Genji monogatari ( the Genji crest in the middle upper right cartouche ). Shows Satsuma Taira Tadanori in court dress with open fan at the door of the house of Kiku-no-mae of the Miyabara family. Published by Ibaya Sensaburo, c 1846. Robinson S28.38.

Fine impression, colour and condition. A slightly later and trimmed copy illustrated in Heroes & Ghosts, 1998, no. 44, p. 70. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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The fifteen year old Otani Furuinosuke killing a wild boar with his bare hands. From the set Honcho Suikoden goyu happyaku-nin no hitori, “ Eight Hundred Heroes of Our Country’s Suikoden, One by One.” A series of fine designs coming after the Tsuzoku Suikoden that was a turning point in Kuniyoshi’s career. Robinson S4a.14. Published by Kaga-ya Kichiyemon, c early 1830s. Many designs from this set reissued by Ibaya Sensaburo, c 1845.

Very good impression. Fine colour and condition. Untrimmed ( a rarity on these designs ). Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A fine hanshita-e triptych drawing by Kuniyoshi showing the actors Arashi Kichisaburo, Ichikawa Kuzo and Ogami Eisaburo, probably in the play Hiragawa seisuiki. Sumi and light colour, 14.5 x 30 in, 37 x 76.5 cma. Each sheet fully signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga with hand-stamped red Kiri seal. Some pentimenti. Laid down onto a larger sheet of paper. Light staining, otherwise good condition.

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A fine hanshita-e triptych drawing by Kuniyoshi showing the strong woman Kaneko Kugutsune ( also called O Kane or Omi no O Kane ). She is normally depicted – as here – holding down the sacred white temple horse with her geta. These appear to be lifelike dolls: There seems to have been a craze for such figures in the 1850s. Other materials used to make such figures and animals were shells, cane and flowers. Sumi and light colour, 14.5 x 30 in, 37 x 76.5 cms. Each sheet fully signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga. Unidentified publisher’s seal, c 1855. Some pentimenti. Laid down onto a larger sheet of paper. Light staining, otherwise good condition. Kuniyoshi appears to have liked this subject and designed a number of prints including a famous horizontal landscape in western style.

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A fine hanshita-e triptych drawing by Kuniyoshi showing a general ( possibly Kato Kiyomasa ) on a horse far left and surrounded by his soldiers. He is viewing flotillas of boats laden with more troops. Sumi and light touches of red, 14.5 x 30 in, 37 x 76.5 cms. Each sheet fully signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga with censor seal pasted on for 9/1860. The publisher’s seal Yamamotoya Heikichi and hand-stamped red Kiri seal on each sheet. Extensive pentimenti. Laid down onto a larger sheet of paper. Light staining, otherwise good condition.

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A triptych with title Furyu ningyo zu, “Pictures of Dolls in Contemporary Fashion.” There was a craze for these lifelike dolls in the 1850s ( this triptych being dated 2/1856 ). In fact Kuniyoshi designed another print in the same year of the centre subject Tammeijiro Genshogo being captured. This impression appears to be the only known copy: Not listed anywhere. Unidentified publisher. An original hanshita-e for the first sheet exists in the Victoria & Albert Museum, illustrated in Japanese Colour Prints, Edward F. Strange, 1913, pl. XLII.

Very fine impression and colour. Possibly very slightly trimmed round. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Shinchunagon Tomomori clasping the great anchor and binding the rope about him prior to jumping into the sea after his defeat at the battle of Dannoura. From an untitled series of at least seventeen prints. This design published by Yamashiroya Heisuke, c. 1845. Extremely rare: Ex Robinson collection and illustrated by him in colour in Kuniyoshi, Phaidon, 1982, pl. 13, SIf.7. Sold by me to Robinson in 1980 and at that time it was the only impression he had seen. I have subsequently not seen another.

Fine impression and colour. Trimmed round slightly and small repaired binding holes at right. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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The best design from Kenjo reppuden, “Stories of Wise and Virtuous Women.” Shows Hatsuhana doing penance under the Tonozawa waterfall fulfilling a vow made on behalf of her sick husband, Katsugoro. She dies from the experience but Katsugoro is cured and kills his brother’s murderer near the waterfall observed by Hatsuhana’s ghost. Published c 1842 by Ibaya Sensaburo.

Very good impression, colour and condition. Completely untrimmed with extra paper showing all round. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861 )



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An original and unrecorded painting of a young beauty reading a letter. She looks to be around 18 or 19 years old and this was most likely a commission from the girl’s family. ( The flower on her bodice is probably the family crest. ) Only 32 paintings are currently known by Kuniyoshi and this appears to date from c.1848-54. Sumi and full colour on paper. Minor loss of pigment, otherwise good condition. 100 x 30.5 cms; 39.5 x 12 inches ( image size ). New mount and box. Signed and sealed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi. ( For other examples of these seals see Appendix 1, p. 261, Heroes & Ghosts, Robert Schaap, Hotei, 1998.)

Status: Sold




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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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An important unrecorded painting by Kuniyoshi. Sumi and colour on silk, 145 cms x 82cms. Shows the courtesan Jigoku Reigan of Takasu who was adopted and patronized by the priest Ikkyu. Her voluminous ceremonial attire is covered with designs of demons and the tortures of hell. This was a popular subject for Kuniyoshi and there are at least three self-portraits ( from the back ) showing him wearing a kimono adorned with these designs of hell ( see Heroes and Ghosts, Robert Schaap, 1998, figs 12, 13 and 14 ). Thirty one paintings are currently known by Kuniyoshi but this is probably his masterpiece. The painting has been professionally restored. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga

Status: Sold




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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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The priest Nichiren calming a storm at Kakuda on his way to Sado Island by invoking the name of the Lotus Sutra ( namu myoho rengekyo ) which is shown written on the waves. From Koso goichidai ryakuzu, “Illustrated Abridged Biography of the Founder. “ Nichiren 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 c. 1831 by Iseya Rihei. This is the first edition with black spots printed in the sky; splashed gofun; gradation on the distant sea; blue gradation at top, and grey mountain. One of the three best designs from the set. ( See this website for the snow scene and Nichiren praying for rain. )

Fine impression and colour. Minor soil and slight centre fold. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Nichiren struggling up a snow-covered mountain near Tsukahara on the Island of Sado. The best design from Koso goichidai ryakuza, the “Illustrated Abridged Biography of the Founder.” Nichiren being 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. Like many great landscapes, there exist different states which causes confusion over which is the earliest. The basic difference is that the design is known with and without a horizon line and that there is at least one impression where the uninked, blind-printed line can be seen in a raked light. It has been asserted that those impressions without are the earliest; however, it seems from this that the sumi block was probably cut initially with the line but the publishers thought that it looked aesthetically better without printing it, and it was subsequently removed. In any case, this is an extremely rare print and most surviving examples appear to be similar in impression. There is a break in the border to the left of the bottom of Kuniyoshi’s signature which could give a guide to the earliest states, but as this is often painted in, it is not reliable. The print offered here has the horizon line and the gradation at the base of the mountain upwards. Left border line is unbroken. The composition is based on a design in the illustrated book Bumpo sansui gafu by Kawamura Bumpo, published posthumously in 1824. Although not from a landscape set, this is considered one of the great 19th century landscapes. Provenance: Ex collection Hans Crzellitzer, seal top right corner.

Very good impression. Some fading and light soil. Slight centre fold. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi hitsu.

Status: Sold

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