Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)




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The actor Ichikawa Yaozo III as Umeomaru, the loyal retainer of Kan Shojo in the Kuruma biki, “Pulling the Carriage Apart,” scene from the play Sugawara denju tenarai kagami, “ Sugawara’s Secrets of Calligraphy” performed at the Miyako Theatre 7/1796. This is one of the most celebrated scenes in Kabuki, showing the stand-off between the brothers Umeomaru and Sakuramaru and Matsuomaru and Shihei. Of the utmost rarity. Toyokuni also designed prints of Matsuomaru and Shihei ( see this website ) and a triptych of the scene from the same play. One of ukiyoe’s great portraits. Umeomaru ( ume, “plum” ) is shown with the red sugi guma makeup of the impetuous hero, and plum blossom on his costume. Published by Yamaguchiya Tadasuke, 1796.


Fine impression. Mica-ground. Probably trimmed at top or bottom but I cannot, at the moment, locate another impression to compare. Some fading and other minor marks; small edge restoration. The role annotated top left in sumi ( as are other famous designs – possibly by the same collector ). As I cannot locate another impression and it’s unlikely there are more than a few, at best, impressions extant, a certain compromise on condition is necessary. Signed Toyokuni ga.



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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769–1825)




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The actor Kataoka Nizaemon VII as the evil Minister of the Left Fujiwara Shihei in the Kuruma biki, “Pulling the Carriage Apart,” scene from the play Sugawara denju tenarai kagami, “ Sugawara’s Secrets of Calligraphy” performed at the Miyako Theatre 7/1796. This is one of the most celebrated scenes in Kabuki, showing the stand-off between the brothers Umeomaru and Sakuramaru and Matsuomaru and Shihei. Of the utmost rarity: Another impression illustrated in Ukiyoe Taikei, vol. 9, no. 19 and also used for the cover of the book and slip-case. Toyokuni also designed mica-ground prints of Matsuomaru and Umeomaru ( see this website ) and a triptych of the scene from the same play – all excessively rare. One of ukiyoe’s great portraits. Published by Yamaguchiya Tadasuke, 1796.


Very good impression. The eyes with brass powder applied. Trimmed heavily top and bottom and very slightly at side. Some fading, soil and other minor marks. The role annotated in sumi top left. Other famous designs are known with these inscriptions ( by the same hand ? ). However, given the rarity and that, at best, there can only be a few impressions extant, a certain compromise is necessary. Signed Toyokuni ga.



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Torii KIYOMITSU (1735-1780)




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A hosoban benizuri-e print in beni, yellow and blue showing the actor Segawa Kikunojo II ( bottom left ) in the role of musume Kagekiyo and Ichimura Uzaemon IX ( top right ) as Osu … possibly Osutoko. “Musume” means “daughter”, while Kagekiyo was the famous general of the Heike clan. However, if Kikunojo were playing Kagekiyo’s daughter then it would be written Kagekiyo musume. ( His daughter was named Hitomaru and she does indeed feature in many plays about him. ) But in this case, it perhaps refers to a female version of Kagekiyo although no information on this is to hand. However, if Kikunojo is playing Kagekiyo’s daughter after all, and it’s just written the other way round for some reason, then it would identify the performance and date nicely: the play would be Soga yawaragi Soga performed at the Ichimura-za in the 1st month of 1767. Published by Nishimura, Eijudo han. Extremely rare. ( Many thanks to Paul Griffith for the elucidation above. )


Fine impression and colour. Slight vertical fold and small expertly restored wormhole near bottom edge. Signed Torii Kiyomitsu ga.


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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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Onoe Kikugoro V as the Hag of Adachi Moor from the Kabuki play Adachigahara (aka Hitotsuya, “The Lonely House”) performed at the Ichimuraza Theatre 4/5/1890. One of a series of three triptychs showing half-length portraits of actors based on the Snow, Moon, Flowers theme. This being Flowers represented by the yugao,”gourds” – moon-flowers. Considered to be amongst Yoshitoshi’s best designs. The Hag was a cannibalistic old woman who preyed on travellers – especially pregnant women. Published by Akiyama Buemon, 1890.


Very fine impression. Mint condition. The best example I have seen. Signed Okokkeidoju Yoshitoshi ga


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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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The actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX in shibaraku role. A fine triptych, Kabuki juhachiban no uchi/shibaraku, “The Eighteen Famous Kabuki Plays: Shibaraku.” Published by Fukuda Kumajiro, 8/1895.


Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Oju Kunichika hitsu.


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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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A triptych showing Danjuro IX as Yanone (arrowhead) Goro (Soga Goro). Published 1882 by Kamiyama Seishichi. Poem by Sansho the 9th (Danjuro).

 

Very good impression and colour. Slight trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Oju (“by special request”) Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.

 

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Rekisentei EIRI (active 1790-1810)




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An uki-e “perspective view” of a Kabuki theatre Edo Sakai-cho Shibai no zu showing Danjuro VII as Gongoro in the play Shibaraku “Wait a Moment.” He is shown on the hanamichi, the “flower path” walkway. His impressive costume consists of foot-high clogs, gigantic sleeves stretched out on bamboo struts and a seven or eight foot sword. The mimasu, “three rice measure” personal crest is clearly visible. Published c early 1800s by Izumiya Ichibei.


Very good impression and colour. Slight soil down right edge. Signed Rekisentei Eiri ga.


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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)




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A fine late single bust of Matsumoto Koshiro V as Tsurugisawa Danjo Saemon in the “Beneath the Floor” scene of the play Shikisemono Soga no Datezome performed at the Morita-za in the 1st month of 1813. Here the arch villain Danjo, master of the black arts, has just risen on a stage lift in a cloud of smoke, having transformed back into human form from that of a giant sewer rat. His hands are still held in the position of a magic spell as he confronts the loyal warrior Otokonosuke who was standing guard in the cellar beneath his lord’s quarters. This print is one of a pair (not a diptych), the other showing Ichikawa Danjuro VII as Otokonosuke. (See Boston MFA for a much trimmed impression of this design acc. No 11.25348.)


Fine impression. Slight turning of the purple towards the edge. Some uneven trimming also into signature, otherwise good condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.


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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)




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A double bust portrait showing Onoe Matsusuke I (above) as the evil lady-in-waiting Iwafuji and Iwai Kumesaburo I as Ohatsu, maidservant to lady-in-waiting Onoe, in the “Inner Garden” scene of the play Kagamiyama Kokyo no Nishiki-e performed at the Ichimura-za in the 3rd month of 1803. In this scene the loyal maid Ohatsu finally avenges the shame brought upon her lady Onoe and her subsequent death, by fighting and killing the evil Iwafuji. The latter is one of Kabuki’s great female villains and the role is often given to an actor of male roles to emphasise her unattractive nature. Another impression was in the Succo collection. Illustrated in Toyokuni, Friedrich Succo, R.Piper & Co, 1913, no 523, p. 80. Published by Nishimuraya Yohachi, 1803.


Fine impression. Some oxidation, otherwise very good colour. Light album backing and very small binding holes. Very good condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.


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Katsukawa SHUNSHO (1726-1792)




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The actors Ichikawa Yaozo II as the samurai Gunsuke, a retainer of the Yoshida family, and Nakamura Nakazo I as Hitokai Sota in a play performed at the Nakamura Theatre, spring 1770. Not listed by F.W. Gookin. Annotated top right by a fan of the theatre. A superb hosoban from Shunsho’s prime.


Very fine impression with the body outlines gauffraged. Fine colour and condition. Signed Shunsho ga with tsubo seal.


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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)




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The well-muscled bodyguard Narukami Kajinosuke played by Sawamura Sojiro IV in the play Sugata no hana azuma no date-zome performed at the Ichimura-za Theatre, 3/1812. Published by Suzuki Ihei,1812. There is a companion design to this print showing Bando Mitsugoro as Kaminari Tsurunosuke.


Fine impression and colour. Very slightly trimmed at bottom, otherwise good condition. Minimal soil. Signed Toyokuni ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI ( 1797-1861 )




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One print from a set of four with title Miburi juni omoi gatsu, “Gestures for the Twelve Months.” Each “gesture” or “caricature” is being performed by a Kabuki actor: So here the 6th month is Nakamura Tsuruzo imitating the serpent of Mt Fuji ( upper right ); 7th month is Otani Tomoemon IV as the gargoyle Onigawara ( lower left ); 8th month is Ichikawa Kuzo II as the turtle-like water sprite Enko ( lower right ); 9th month is Onoe Kikujiro II as the chrysanthemum butterfly. Published c 1847-48 by Ebisuya Shoshichi. Rare.


Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi giga, “Drawn for fun.”


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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI ( 1839-1892 )




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A rare diptych showing the actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX as Saijo Takamori ( = Saigo Takamori ) in the play Okige no kumo harau asagochi by the playwright Kawatake Shinshichi II performed at the Shintomi-za Theatre from the 23rd of the second month, 1878. Saigo Takamori was leader of the rebellion against the Meiji government in 1877. Published by Tsuda Genshichi and dated the 15th of the second month, so it was issued as pre-publicity.


Very fine impression of the first edition with variegated cartouche; colour wiped across the background, and the Danjuro 3-chocolate coloured Mimasu bands around the border. The background is also fnely blind-printed. I have located several other impressions ( one in the Bunka digital library ) that are later printings, lacking the embellishments listed above. Fine colour and condition. Signed Oju Taiso Yoshitoshi ga.


Status: Sold

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