Ippitsusai BUNCHO (1763-1840)




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Ichikawa Danjuro V probably as Watanabe Kiou Takiguchi in the play Nue no mori ichiyou no matsu performed at the Nakamura-za in the 11th month of 1770. It was in this month that Koshiro III took the name of Danjuro V. Shows Danjuro in the iconic costume of the Shibaraku scene with the giant mon. Buncho was a connoisseur of paintings ( he wrote Buncho gadan [ Treatise on Painting ] ), and was one of the most important painters and print designers of this period. A fine design and extremely rare.


Fine impression. The background probably “turned” from a pale blue ( as usual ). Trimmed into signature at left, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ippitsusai Buncho ga.


Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)





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A rare 6-sheet design: Odori keiyo gakuya no zu, Odori keiyo nikai-iri no zu, “View of the Backstage and Dressing Rooms, Backstage at a Newly Opened Theatre.” The 1855 earthquake and resulting fire destroyed the Edo theatre district. Only five months later the first theatre – the Ichimura Theatre – was reopened. This print, issued the previous month, was an advertisement for the opening. A number of actors are recognisable by their mons. Published by Izumiya Ichibei, 1856, 2nd month.

 

Very good impression and colour. Some trimming, otherwise very good condition. This design is invariably trimmed as the designs that have survived are from albums where the top triptych had to fold down into the album. Signed Toyokuni ga.


 

Status: Sold

 

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Torii KIYOMITSU (1735-1785)



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The actor Segawa Kikunojo II as the Tennin (a devine being that is able to fly by means of a feathered kimono) from the play Hagoromo, “The Feathered Mantle.” She stands on Miho Beach, the feathered kimono caught in the tree behind her. The story relates how fishermen find the boa but will only return it if she performs a dance. Published c early 1760s.

 

Fine impression. Very good colour: Benizuri-e with beni, green and blue. Some light toning and soil, otherwise very good condition. Signed Kiyomitsu ga with kiyomitsu seal.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa YOSHIIKU (1833-1904)



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An Ichikawa Danjuro memorial portrait showing Kawarazaki Gonjuro I (Danjuro IX, 1838-1903) in the Shibaraku role looking up at his father, Danjuro babaa (Ichikawa Danjuro VII [1791-1859]) who had died the previous year. It was some years before Gonjuro finally adopted the Danjuro name in 1874. Published by Ebisuya, 1860.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Yoshiiku ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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Snow from the set Setsugekka no uchi, “Snow, Moon and Flowers” published by Akiyama Buemon, 1890. Shows half-length portraits of famous actors, in this case Onoe Baiko V ( Onoe Kikugoro V, 1844-1903 ) as the priest Iwakura Sogen. Various versions of the story and play exist concerning Sogen’s infatuation with Irokotohime. First edition ( the second state titled “Iwakura Sogen in the Hermitage Scene from Hanafubuki” ). And with variegated cartouche.


Fine impression and colour. Very small corner repair, otherwise very good condition. Ample room for joining of sheets. Signed Yoshitoshi.


Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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A preparatory drawing sold together with the published print showing the actor Sawamura Sojuro III as Oboshi Yuranosuke from the play Kanadehon Chushingura. [Yakusha mitate] Tokaido gojusan tsugi no uchi: Nihonbashi Shinagawa no aide, Takanawa, Yuranosuke, “Actors at the Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido: Takanawa between Nihonbashi and Shinagawa, Yuranosuke.” The drawing is from a group of 43 that were sold by a Milanese gallery in 1981. The set was published by Takadaya Takezo in 1852. Seal bottom right of the collector Kaoen. Three other drawings from this group are illustrated in Kunisada, Robert Schaap, Hotei Publishing, 2016, nos 103-105.

 

The drawing is laid down (as all were), sumi with light red and blue to the face. There are numerous annotations indicating the colours to be used. There are some differences between the drawing and the published print, mainly in the background landscape. The print is in good condition. The drawing is signed Toyokuni ga.


 

Status: Sold

 




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Natori SHUNSEN (1886-1960)




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An original watercolour on cartridge paper of the actor Onoe Kikugoro VI as Tomomori. Shunsen is famous for his print series of actors published by Watanabe from 1916 until 1954. 39.2 x 28.5 cms; 15.5 x 11.25 inches. Signed and sealed Shunsen. Minor foxing, otherwise good condition.



Status: Sold

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Yurakusai NAGAHIDE (fl. c. 1804-1848)




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A hosoban kappazuri print (stencil print) showing the actors Ichikawa Danzo IV, Yoshizawa Iroha I, and Arashi Kichisaburo II as Shurinosuke, his wife, and Toshihiro. Exceptionally rare: Seemingly the only other impression known is illustrated in 200 Years of Kamigata Ukiyo-e, 1975, no. 39. Published 1803. Publisher unread.

 

Very good impression. Fine colour. Very good condition. Signed Nagahide.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)




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A very fine portrait of the actor Ichikawa Danjuro VI in kumadori make-up and assuming an aragoto stance. The quality, date, style and publisher are the same as for his finest set of Portraits of Actors on Stage published 1794 – 6 although this design appears not to be from the set and I cannot locate another impression. There is a bust of Danjuro, probably in the same role, by Toyokuni in the same year – 1796 in the Achenbach, San Francisco. Published by Senichi.


Extremely fine impression and colour. Grey ground. A seal at bottom which appears on many Toyokuni I and Toyoshige prints and is probably a book and/or print seller ( it gives an address ). Very small binding holes at left edge. Full size. Fine condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.



Status: Sold

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Torii KIYONAGA (1752–1815)


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A fine actor design from a series of at least 31 such degatari prints ( showing singing or chanting at a theatre ). A scene from Shosa Hatsuhige yakko tanzen, played at the Ichimura-za theatre, November 1783. Shows Nakamura Nakazo as Tanzen seated with fan looking at Onoe Matsusuke as a young lady ( in reality a white fox ). To the right Ichimura Uzaemon as a yakko. The chanters Tomimoto Buzen-dayu and Tomimoto Itsuki-dayu at the back accompanied by Namizaki Tokuji. Published by Nishimura 1783. See Hirano, Kiyonaga, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, no. 544, pl. LXXX.


Very good impression and colour. Slight soil, otherwise very good condition. Full size. Signed Kiyonaga ga.



Status: Sold

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Katsukawa SHUN’EI (1762-1819)




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An extremely rare yellow-ground aiban showing the actor Sawamura Sojuro III in the role of Nagoya Sanza in the play Keisei sanbon karakasa performed at the Miyako-za, 7/1794. In fact Shun’ei designed another print of the same actor and role, see the Walter Amstutz collection, Sothebys, 1991, lot 98. Shun’ei – the originator of the ‘Big Head’ – was something of an eccentric and a great lover of the theatre and sumo.


Fine impression with unfaded colour. Slight soil with small backed areas and slight horizontal creases, but generally very good. Signed Shun’ei ga.



Status: Sold

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)




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Shows Iwai Hanshiro IV as the wet nurse Masaoka and Sawamura Tozo as the evil serving lady Yashio in the play Omiura date nebiki performed at the Nakamura-za, 2/1799. Published by Eijudo. Light grey ground.


Fine impression, and condition. Perfect colour and completely untrimmed. Signed Toyokuni ga.



Status: Sold

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Kinoshita HIRONOBU I (Active c1851-1870)




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A large head oban print of the actor Onoe Shogyoku in an unknown role from a rare set: Zen (?) kurabe nishiki utsushie, “A Comparison of Virtuous Pictures.” Published c1859. This is the first deluxe edition with extensive burnishing, gold and silver. The set was reissued without these embellishments.


Very fine impression and colour. Some soil, offsetting and slight trimming. Signed Hironobu ga.



Status: Sold

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Ichiyosai YOSHITAKI (1841-1899. Active c1854-1885)


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A large head oban print of the actor Nakamura Kanjaku II as Takeda Katsuyori (?) from a rare set: Zen (?) kurabe nishiki utsushie, ‘A Comparison of Virtuous Pictures.’ Published c1859. This is the first deluxe edition with extensive burnishing, gold and silver. The set was reissued without these embellishments.


Very fine impression and colour. Some soil, offsetting and slight trimming. Signed Yoshitaki hitsu.



Status: Sold

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Kinoshita HIRONOBU I (Active c1851-1870)


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A large head oban print of the actor Otani Tomomatsu I as Yaegaki hime from a rare set: Zen (?) kurabe nishiki utsushie, ‘A Comparison of Virtuous Pictures.’ Published c1859. This is the first deluxe edition with extensive burnishing, gold and silver. The set was reissued without these embellishments.


Very fine impression and colour. Some soil, offsetting and slight trimming. Signed Hironobu ga.



Status: Sold

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Kinoshita HIRONOBU I (Active c1851-1870)


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A large head oban print of the actor Arashi Tokusaburo II ( or III [?] ) as Hangari on’na from a rare set: Zen (?) kurabe nishiki utsushie, “A Comparison of Virtuous Pictures.” Published c1859. This is the first deluxe edition with extensive burnishing, gold and silver. The set was reissued without these embellishments.


Very fine impression and colour. Some soil, offsetting and slight trimming. Signed Hironobu ga.



Status: Sold

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Ichiyosai YOSHITAKI (1841-1899. Active c1854-1885)


Ichiyosai-YOSHITAKI-1841-to-1899-actors22


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A large head oban print of the actor Sancho Daisho (?) as the pirate Watonai ( Kokusenya, Coxinga ) from a rare set: Zen (?) kurabe nishiki utsushie, ‘A Comparison of Virtuous Pictures.’ Published c1859. This is the first deluxe edition with extensive burnishing, gold and silver. The set was reissued without these embellishments.


Very fine impression and colour. Some soil, offsetting and slight trimming. Signed Yoshitaki hitsu.



Status: Sold

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Kochoro KUNISADA (1786-1865)


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An original wood block showing actors as Kuzunoha and Abe no Yasuna. Kuzunoha was the fox wife of Yasuna and is usually depicted nursing her child or appearing as a white fox giving Yasuna the key to her disappearance in a dream. Au verso is an uninteresting design by Yoshifuji entitled Toita zukushi, a “Collection of Sliding Doors.” Rare: Blocks of seasoned wood had become expensive in the 19th century and old blocks were often planed down to be reused by later artists/publishers. Important blocks seldom come onto the market, and the few that do are invariably for later copies. Most were reused and/or burnt and destroyed. Signed Toyokuni ga. Publisher’s seal not read. Censors’ seals for 1849 – 53. Sold as is with some slight edge wormage, but otherwise surprisingly good condition.



Status: Sold




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Utagawa TOYOKUNI (1769-1825)


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A silver mica-ground double bust portrait of Hikosaburo Bando III as Kan Shojo ( Sugawara Michizane ) disgraced and sent to Tsukushi, and Kataoka Nizaemon VII as Hakudayu from the play Sugawara denju tenarai kagami, “Sugawara’s Secrets of Calligraphy.” The play was written for the puppet theatre in 1746 and quickly adapted for Kabuki. Published by Yamaden, Kansei 8 ( 1796 ). Extremely rare. Unidentified collector’s seal au verso.


Fine impression. Perfect colour. Some slight loss of mica ( as per usual ) and a slight centre fold. Signed Toyokuni ga.



Status: Sold

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Kochoro KUNISADA (1786-1865)


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An extremely important original wood block. Shows the onnagata actor Onoe Kikugoro IV as the chinohito, ‘wet-nurse,’ Masaoka, in the play ‘Konoshita Masagono Date-zome,’ performed at the Ichimura Theatre, 9/1855. Designed for the late, fine set of deluxe bust portaits published by Ebisuya Shoshichi ( except two ) between 1860 and 1869. There are also eleven designd by Yoshitora. The culmination of Kunisada’s carrer. On the reverse of the block is a design by Utagawa Kunitoshi ( 1847 – 99 ) with title Tokyo meisho Kaiunbashi dai-ichi kokuritsu ginko, ‘First National Bank at Kaiun Bridge, Famous Views of Tokyo.’ Published Meiji 10 ( 1877 ) by Naraha Shutei. Signed Kunitoshi hitsu. Blocks of seasoned wood had become expensive in the 19th century and old blocks were often planed down to be reused by later artists/publishers. Important blocks seldom come onto the market, and the few that do are invariably for later copies. Most were reused and/or burnt and destroyed. Signature Toyokuni ga with publisher’s seal Kinshodo and Sho; carver’s seal choko Ryuzo and Aratame censor’s seal 3/1860. Sold as is with some slight edge wormage, but otherwise surprisingly good condition.



Status: Sold




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Kochoro KUNISADA (1786-1865)


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A fine view of the inside of a theatre with a performance taking place. The faces of the audience in the stalls are carefully drawn and it’s obvious that many were meant to be recognised. Published by Noshuya Yasubei, 1858. Rare.


Fine impression and colour. Offsetting on last sheet and trimmed slightly on left. Other minor marks and rubbing. Signed Ichiyosai Hinajishi Toyokuni ga.



Status: Sold

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)


Toyohara-KUNICHIKA-1835-to-1900-actors17


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A vertical diptych showing Onoe Kikugoro V as Nikki Danjo transforming himself by majic into a rat. In his mouth the stolen will with which he was trying to strip Tsuru-chiyo of his inheritance. Title of play: Meibuku Sendai hagi, “The Disputed Succession.” Published by Fukuda Kumajiro, 1887. Rare.


Fine impression. Very good colour. Some burnishing. Slight offsetting and oxidation. Retains original album backing. Signed Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.



Status: Sold

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)


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A vertical diptych depicting the story of the Inaba Apprentice. Title: Inaba ama-yobanashi. Shows Onoe Kikugoro V as the ghost of Saijiro; Bando Kakitsu as Kanbara Mikinosuke and Onoe Matsukuke as Nakama Gonbee. Published by Fukuda Kumajiro, 1887. Extremely rare.


Fine impression and colour. Hand-applied pigment to the head of the ghost. Some silver and burnishing. Retains original album backing. Signed Oju Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.



Status: Sold

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)


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A vertical diptych showing the actor Onoe Kikugoro V, dagger in hand and covered in blood, confronting a giant serpent. Published by Fukuda Kumajiro, 1887. Extremely rare.


Fine impression and colour. Extensive mica applied to the serpent. Retains original album backing. Signed Oju Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.



Status: Sold

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)


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A vertical diptych showing the actors Ichikawa Danjuro as the teacher Kondo Tatsuo and Ichikawa Sadanji as Mikura Tomizo. Title: Kishu no oki kisen chinbotsu no ba, “ Sunken Ship in the Sea off Kishu Province.” Published by Fukuda Kumajiro, Meiji 20, 11th month ( 1887 ).


Fine impression and colour. Extensive mica and gofun applied. Retains original album backing. Signed Oju Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.



Status: Sold

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI (1769-1825)


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An aiban bust portrait showing Iwai Hanshiro IV in an onnagata role. Published by Yamaguchi Chusuke c 1794. Another aiban okubi-e of the same actor in another onnagata role and of the same date was published by Tsuruya Kiemon. A rare and fine design.


Fine impression. Very good colour. Slight trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.



Status: Sold

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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)


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The complete set of five prints: Date otoku kisho kurabe, “A contest of Fashionable Men.” Shows actors as otokodate ( so-called chivalrous commoners, recognisable by the fact that they carried a sword together with a shakuhachi [ bamboo flute ] showing proficiency in the martial arts and music ). Published c 1847-1850 by Iseya Ichibei.


Fine impressions. Fine colour. Slight trimming and backed binding holes, otherwise good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.



Status: Sold




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Katsukawa SHUNKO (1743-1812)


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Ichikawa Yaozo III in a Shibaraku role c 1800. This standard Kabuki interlude was invented by Danjuro I as part of the drama Sankai Nagoya in 1697 and translates as “Wait a moment.” The long brick-red costume with the immense mon produced some of the most striking images in ukiyo-e. The best of Shunko’s work certainly equals that of his master and teacher, Shunsho. Provenance: Ex collection Dr. and Mrs. James B. Austin, illustrated in Eight Hundred Years Of Japanese Printmaking, Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 1976/77, illustration 326, p.79.


Good impression and colour. Slight centre fold and minor marks, otherwise very good condition. Signed Shunko ga.



Status: Sold

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Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)


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An excessively rare triptych showing the interior of a large mansion where a private performance of Kabuki interlude plays is being performed. Some of the most famous actors of the day are shown: Bando Mitsugoro III, Iwai Hanshiro V, and Ichikawa Danjuro VII. One of Hiroshige’s earliest prints published c 1818-20 when Hiroshige was 22-24 years old. Two other impressions appear to be known: The Tamba impression illustrated in The Art of Hiroshige, Tsuneo Tamba, 1965, no.122, p.58; and the Suzuki copy illustrated in Utagawa Hiroshige, Juzo Suzuki, 1970, no.86, which is the impression shown in the Memorial Exhibition of Hiroshige, Number Eighteen, Ukiyo-e Art, The Japan Ukiyo-e Society, 1968, no.1.


Good impression and colour. Some small areas of expert restoration, otherwise good condition. Signed “By special request” Hiroshige ga.



Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)


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Shiragikumaru from the play Tsuruya Namboku riding the back of an enormous
prehistoric-looking sea animal. From the set: Toyokuni kigo kijutsu kurabe, “A Contest of Magic-scenes by Toyokuni” published by Hiranoya Shinzo 12/1864. One of the best designs from the set.


Superb deluxe impression with burnishing, mica, splashed gofun and best-quality pigments. Perfect colour. Very slight trimming, otherwise fine. On deluxe hosho. Signed Shichijuku-sai Toyokuni hitsu, “The seventy-nine year old Toyokuni drew.”



Status: Sold

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Torii KIYOMASU I (Active c1700-1722)


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The actor Nakamura Takesaburo playing a female itinerant tea vendor. A pair of panniers is slung across his shoulders holding the paraphernalia for tea making including, in the lower sections, a brazier and water jug. Published c1716-20 by Sagamiya. Published in Yamaguchi and Asano ( 1982 ), Moronobu – Harunobu, vol.6 of the Complete Dictionary of Ukiyo-e, Tokyo, Shogakukan, pl.86, p.46. Probably the only known impression extant.


Very good impression with fine contemporary hand-colouring. Expertly restored corners and areas at left and bottom edges. One repaired wormhole beside the hand holding the bamboo rod. Signed Torii Kiyomasu hitsu.



Status: Sold

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Ichieisai YOSHITSUYA (1822-1866)


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A print from a set of three with title: Sanshibai mitate tako, “Parody of the Three Plays Shown as Kites”. Shows various kite designs together with accoutrements to kite flying. The actors image/s together with other clues gave the name of the play which would have been obvious to the public at the time. Published 1862. Unidentified publisher. The only time I have recorded this print.


Good impression and colour. Some soil and small restorations, otherwise good condition. Signed Ichieisai Yoshitsuya ga.



Status: Sold

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Ichieisai YOSHITSUYA (1822-1866)


Ichieisai-YOSHITSUYA-1822-to-1866-actors6


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A print from a set of three with title: Sanshibai mitate tako, “Parody of the Three Plays Shown as Kites”. Shows various kite designs together with accoutrements to kite flying. The actors image/s together with other clues gave the name of the play which would have been obvious to the public at the time. Published 1862. Unidentified publisher. The only time I have recorded this print.


Good impression and colour. Some soil and small restorations, otherwise good condition. Signed Ichieisai Yoshitsuya ga.



Status: Sold

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Katsukawa SHUN’EI (1762-1819)


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The actor Segawa Kikunojo III as Yasukata performing a vigorous hobby-horse dance in Godai Genji mitsugi no furisode. Published by Tsuruya Kiemon c1790-91. Ex Tamba collection (seal bottom right).


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



Status: Sold

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Taiso YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)


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An actor as a tattooed fireman from a set of seven prints Isami no Kotobuki. “A Celebration of Gallantry”. Firemen often had elaborate tattoos to show their indifference to pain. The set published by Daikin 8/1865. Rare.


Very fine impression and colour. On thick deluxe hosho. Extensive burnishing. Gofun oxidised (as usual). Slight offsetting of blue pigment, otherwise very good condtion. Signed Gyokuo Yoshitoshi hitsu.



Status: Sold

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Taiso YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)


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An actor as a tattooed fireman from a set of seven prints Isami no Kotobuki. “A Celebration of Gallantry”. Firemen often had elaborate tattoos to show their indifference to pain. The set published by Daikin 8/1865. Rare.


Very fine impression and colour. On thick deluxe hosho. Gofun oxidised (as usual). otherwise fine condtion. Signed Gyokuo Yoshitoshi hitsu.



Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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A lively design showing Ichikawa Danjuro VII in the role of the loyal warrior Arajishi Otokonosuke Terumitsu fighting a giant rat in the cellar beneath the women’s quarters of the Ashikaga Palace. This scene, Yukashita no Ba, is from the play Date kurabe okuni Kabuki performed at the Kawarasaki-za Theatre, 3/1829. Shortly afterwards, the rat escapes down a hole in the hanamichi pathway, only to re-emerge in a cloud of smoke as the arch-villain and master of the black arts, Nikki Danjo. Published by Eikyudo (Yamamoto Kyubei) 1829.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition on an extra large sheet of hosho. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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A fine surimono showing the actor Danjuro VII casting roasted beans from a tray he holds in his left hand. This ritual called setsubun, “end of winter” was performed in the precincts of temples in the Spring (although now takes place in February). He wears the well known Shibaraku costume with the large mimasu crests. Two poems above by Shiseido Sutena and Hoichitei Masunari. The latter being a member of the Taiko-ren, Drum poetry club. Their symbol top right corner. Issued c 1822. Illustrated in colour on the front cover of Art of the Surimono, Theodore Bowie, Indiana University Art Museum, 1979. Rare.

 

Superb impression with extensive gold and silver. Perfect colour. Light Japanese backing and slightly trimmed at left. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Jokei RYUKOSAI (Fl. c 1772-1816)




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The most important and influential Osaka artist of the late eighteenth century. An innovator whose style may well have influenced such artists as Shunei and Sharaku. His prints – mostly hosoban – are all of the utmost rarity. Indeed, it is thought, as here, that they originally formed triptychs but, so far, no complete design has been located. The unsigned left panel of a triptych published 1/1793 showing Onoe Shinshichi I (Fujaku) as Isshiki Yukinokami in the play Keisai yanagi sakura. The play involves the rescue of the Ashikaga Shogunate through the efforts of Yukinokami in uncovering a usurper’s plot. The hero stands in a snowy garden holding a fragment of a handscroll he has been found reading. Of the utmost rarity: Only a few impressions are known and there are two states: As here without role above and published by Osakaya Sashichi and with the calligraphy and published by Shiocho.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition.

 

Status: Sold

 

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SESSHUNSAI (Dates unknown but active c 1800)




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An extremely rare early Osaka hosoban showing the actor Asao Tamejuro II (1779-1806) standing before a broken barricade in the role of Yamashiro Kantsubo in the play Meiboku sendai hagi. This artist and print appear to be unrecorded. Published by Houki (Honya Kichisai), c early 1800. A wonderful design. Many thanks to Hendrick Luhl for his help on this print.

 

Very good impression and colour. The fujitive background aobana, dayflower pigment, intact except for one small area affected by moisture visible au verso. Very good condition. Signed Sesshunsai ga with seal unread.

 

Status: Sold

 

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