Katsukawa SHUN’EI




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An hosoban showing Iwai Hanshiro IV in a “Shibaraku” role, probably as Akita Jonosuke Yoshikage from the play Mieiko nori no hachi no ki performed at the Kawarazaki Theatre in the 11th month, 1791. The highly stylised and dramatic Shibaraku costume gave rise to some of the best ukiyo-e designs. Originally staged by Ichikawa Danjuro I in 1697, it quickly gained popularity and was included in the kaomise celebrations at Edo theatres. Published by Harimaya Shinshichi. Ex Beres collection, sold Paris 2002, lot 39.

 

 

Fine impression, very good colour and condition. Beres seal au verso. Signed Shun’ei ga.

 

 

Status: Available

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Torii KIYONOBU II (1706-1763)




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An hosoban showing the actors Ichimura Uzaemon VIII (above) and Segawa Kikujiro I in an onnagata role. Published by Emiya Kichiemon, c. 1746. Another impression in the MET (JP831), listed as Kiyonobu I.

 

 

Very good impression. Good colour and condition. Signed Torii Kiyonobu hitsu.

 

 

Status: Available

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Katsukawa SHUNSHO (1726-1792)




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An hosoban showing the actor Ichikawa Danjuro V as a blacksmith forging a sword blade. An unidentified role published c. 1780.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Available

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)




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The actor Nakamura Utaemon II playing two roles (out of seven), Nana yaku no uchi, which are: the Manzai street entertainer Tsuchiemon (seated) and Kudayu’s daughter Okumi, in the play Chushin koshaku performed at the Nakamura-za Theatre, 7/1812.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Reserved

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)




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The actor Segawa Roko III as the Lady Onoe in the play Yanoji Musubi hana no gyoretsu, performed at the Nakamura-za Theatre, 4/1806.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Available

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)




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The actors Matsumoto Koshiro V (right) as the barber Nagata Taro; in reality Kamada Masakiyo, and Segawa Michinosuke I as Genkichi’s wife, Osoro; in reality Nagata’s younger sister, in the play Wakazakari Heike Monogatari, performed at the Ichimura-za Theatre, 11/1806. Published by Hachi.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Available

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)




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The actor Onoe Matsusuke I as the ghost of the wife of Kohada Koheiji in the play Eiri otogi zoshi performed at the Ichimura-za Theatre, 7/1808. In fact, Matsusuke played both the wife and Kohada Koheiji. One of the best plots in Kabuki: Kohada Koheiji was a third-rate kabuki actor who couldn’t find work. His drama teacher, taking pity on him, bribed a director to give him work. On seeing him, the director immediately saw his potential as a yurei (ghost) because of his appearance – white skin, dark, sunken eyes and long hair. And at this he became extremely successful. However, his wife Osoka, was embarrassed by him and took a lover. Together, they planned to kill him which they did by drowning him in a swamp. This gave him his greatest yurei role and he came back to haunt them to death. Published by Tsuruya Kinsuke, 1808.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Available

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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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Shunchosai HOKUSHU (Active 1822-32)




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Onoe Kikugoro III as the ghost of Oiwa in Irohagana yotsuya kaidan, “Ghost Story of Yotsuya.” Performed at the Kado Theatre, 1/1826. Probably the best known Japanese ghost story and has been made into a number of films. Tamiya Iemon, a masterless samurai, murders the wife he has disfigured who comes back to haunt him until he is driven mad and subsequently killed by Oiwa’s brother. Evidently, Kikugoro’s performance was something of a sensation at the time as he gave a bravura performance playing both the ghost of Oiwa and Koheiji who were nailed on opposite sides of a panel dropped into the river. There are at least five states of this print. The first appears to be that illustrated in Roger Keyes, The Theatrical World Of Osaka Prints, Philadelphia Museum Of Art, 1973, no. 34, p. 108 with the engraver and two printers and the writing printed in silver. The example offered here appears to be a second state without the engraver and printers’ seal but with the writing still printed in silver. Other impressions with different seals and lacking the first three lines of writing and the silver are known. See The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University catalogue, Kamigata Prints in the former period: part 1, nos. 279 and 280. Also BM impression 1962,0210,0.2 which may be the last state.

 

 

Fine impression and colour with calligraphy in silver. Very good condition; full size. Signed Shunchosai Hokushu ga.

 

 

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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Torii KIYOMITSU (1735-1785)




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An hosoban benizuri-e showing the actor Ichimura Uzaemon IX as Soga no Goro Tokimune, brandishing a club, and riding to avenge the murder of his father by Kudo Suketsune. Published c. 1768. (The publisher’s seal may be on the underside of the horse.) Kiyomitsu was the second son of Kiyomasu II.

 

 

Very good impression and colour. Light album backing, otherwise very good condition. Signed Torii Kiyomitsu ga.

 

 

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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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 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 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.



Status: Sold

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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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Ippitsusai BUNCHO (Fl. c 1755-1790)




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A hosoban showing the actor Ichikawa Monnosuke II standing before a torii and looking down at a snake. Not listed in the Riccar Art Museum Exhibition Of Ukiyo-e By Ippitsusai Buncho, 1978. Published c 1769.

 

Very good impression. Extremely well preserved colour. Probably slightly trimmed on right and slight soil, otherwise very good condition. Signed Buncho 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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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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Okumura TOSHINOBU (Active c 1717-1750)



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An hosoban showing a young actor in the role of a peddler of Chinese medicine, an Uiro, in a scene called Uiro-uri. This role is associated with the Danjuro line and Danjuro II did perform it more than once. Published c 1720 by Emiya. Rare.

 

Good impression. Coloured by hand: mustard yellow, yellow, gold powder and heavy sumi over an embossed pattern. Possibly some fading, otherwise very good condition. Signed Yamato gwako Okumura Toshinobu hitsu.

 

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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Ippitsusai BUNCHO (Active c 1755-1790)




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Little is known of Buncho’s life. With Shunsho, he was the pre-eminent designer of actor hosoban producing them during the short period of 1766-1773. He also collaborated with Shunsho on the fine 3 vol. Ehon butai ogi in 1770. Shows the actor Nakamura Matsue I in an onnagata role holding a child beside a large bell. This is possibly Matsue playing Sakuragi, the wife of Munesada, in the play Kuni no Hana Ono no Itsumoji performed at the Nakamura-za Theatre in 11/1771. Provenance: Ex collection Ernest Le Veel. Sold lot 13, 3rd sale, Ader Picard Tajan, 5/11/1981. Seal au verso. Rare: Not listed in Exhibition Of Ukiyo-e By Ippitsusai Buncho, Riccar Art Museum, 1978.

 

 

Fine impression. Very good colour. Fine condition. Signed Ippitsusai Buncho ga with Mori uji seal.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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