Santo KYODEN (Kitao MASANOBU) (1761-1816)




Click here to view image full size.

A pair of original paintings, full colour on silk, image size 38.5 x 15.5 in; 97.75 x 39.5 cms. Shows a courtesan on the left with a portrait of a novelist on the right. The paintings are signed “By special request” and were presumably commissioned by the novelist showing his paramour. I have not identified the novelist. Masanobu was a pupil of Shigemasa and was one of the leading authors and illustrators of kibyoshi, ehon and kyoka anthologies as well as being a painter and print artist. He illustrated the fine set of double-oban prints of courtesans in 1783-4: Yoshiwara keisai shin bijin awase jihitsu kagami. These painting must come from around this date as the pose of the courtesan is very similar to some of the figures in the above album. A controversial figure who ran foul of the authorities in 1789, subsequently ceasing to use the name Kitao Masanobu and thereafter his paintings are always spontaneous in an abbreviated style, often quite slight and signed Kyoden. Paintings fully finished like this are rare. In generally very good condition, although some loss of gofun. Signed Oju Kyoden Masanobu ga on each painting.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 




Click here to view image full size.




Click here to view image full size.

Tags: , , , ,

 

Ichiunsai KUNIHISA (1832-1891)




Click here to view image full size.

An original painting, full colour on paper with the black waistband heavily lacquered, image size 48 x 11 in; 122 x 28 cms. Shows a young beauty carrying a box. She wears an apron and has a towel slung over her shoulder, so is presumably an assistant in a kitchen or bathhouse or similar establishment. The narrow format enhances her natural elegance. Kunihisa was the pupil and son-in-law of Kunisada. Some repaired wormage, otherwise good condition. Signed Kunihisa ga with two indistinct seals.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 




Click here to view image full size.

Tags: , , ,

 

TORII School (c. late 1750’s)




Click here to view image full size.

An original painting, full colour on paper with gold additions, image size 30 x 10 in; 76 x 25.5 cms. Shows a beauty holding up a puppet of the actor Bando Hikosaburo II. Painted c. late 1750s and possibly by Torii Kiyomitsu. In good condition with seal Torii.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 




Click here to view image full size.

Tags: , , ,

 

Yamamoto FUJINOBU (Active 1750-1770)




Click here to view image full size.

An original painting, full colour on paper, image size 32.25 x 7 in; 82 x 18 cms. Shows a parading courtesan with her kamuro. A painter and print artist whose prints were always published by Yamamoto Fusanobu giving rise to the theory that Fujinobu was a pseudonym of the publisher. Much influenced by Harunobu. His prints are extremely rare. Slight creasing, otherwise good condition. Signed Fujinobu ga with indistinct seal.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 




Click here to view image full size.

Tags: , , ,

 

An original BLOCK (c. 1715)


Click here to view image full size.


Click here to view image full size.

An original double-sided wood block, c. 1715. This is the earliest block I have catalogued or indeed seen. Shows warriors in combat on one side and on the reverse a samurai and attendant approaching a beauty on a balcony. Sold “as is” with all imperfections. Rare.

 

 

Status: Available

Tags: , , ,

 

Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



Click here to view image full size.

Shibaura, shiohigari no zu, “Low Tide [or Ebbtide, or catalogued in some instances as Shell-gathering] at Shibaura” from a Toto meisho “Famous Places in the Eastern Capital” set of ten prints published c. 1831-2 by Kawaguchiya Shozo. Hiroshige’s first oban landscape set with some outstanding designs. Shibaura is now an area with high-rise residential towers. The first editions, as here, have decorative borders adding a western element into the designs. These were removed on later editions. Extremely rare in this state.

 

Fine impression and colour. Very minor edge soil and slight centre fold. Slight trimming of decorative border on left, otherwise very good condition. Prints from this set are often missing or have the publisher’s name and address on the right border trimmed. Signed Ichiyusai Hiroshige ga. (The last set to be signed like this.)

 

Status: Available

 

 

Tags: , , ,

 

Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



Click here to view image full size.

Susaki yuki no hatsuhi, “Snow on New Year’s Day at Susaki” from a Toto meisho “Famous Places in the Eastern Capital” set of ten prints published c. 1831-2 by Kawaguchiya Shozo. Hiroshige’s first oban landscape set with some outstanding designs. Fukagawa Susaki was a spit of land along Edo Bay. (Also the subject of the Eagle design, Jumantsubo Fukagawa Susaki, from the One Hundred Views of Edo later on.) The first editions, as here, have decorative borders adding a western element into the designs. These were removed on later editions. Extremely rare in this state.

 

Fine impression and colour. Very minor edge soil and slight centre fold, otherwise very good condition. Prints from this set are often missing or have the publisher’s name and address on the right border trimmed. Signed Ichiyusai Hiroshige ga. (The last set to be signed like this.)

 

Status: Available

 

 

Tags: , , ,

 

Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



Click here to view image full size.

An o-tanzaku print, Yugao chapter from the fifty-four chapters of Genji, the Genji Monogatari. A tenth century romance written by Murasaki Shikibu. From a set Buyu nazoraye Genji, “Heroic Comparisons for the Chapters of Genji.” In this case showing Benkei creeping up on Ushiwaka on Gojo Bridge in Kyoto. The story relates how Benkei only needs one more blade to add to the 999 he has wrenched from samurai attempting to cross the bridge in order to fashion an invincible weapon. Benkei loses the fight and becomes Yoshitsune’s loyal retainer. Published by Ibaya Sensaburo, c. 1843.

 

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

 

Status: Available

 

 

Tags: , , ,

 

Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



Click here to view image full size.

The priest Nichiren standing on a rocky promontory at Reizen 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 ryakuza, “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. This example has an orange-red colour used on Nichiren’s robe and umbrella rather than the brighter red of other impressions. Very good colour and condition. Full size with ample room on top border for the umbrella which protrudes beyond the border and is notorious for being trimmed. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

Tags: , , ,

 

Utagawa NOBUKATSU (Active 1824-1841)



Click here to view image full size.

An Osaka print showing the actor Onoe Baiko III as Kan Shojo (Sugawara Michizane) in the play Sugawara denju tenarai kagami, “Sugawara and the Secrets of Calligraphy.” Performed at the Takeda Theatre, 3/1830. This is the famous Mt. Tempai scene from the play. Published by Tenmaya Kihei. Shows Kan Shojo transformed into the Thunder God wreaking revenge on his enemies.

 

Fine impression and colour. Crease near right edge, otherwise very good condition. Signed Tessai Nobukatsu ga.

 

Status: Available

 

Tags: , , ,

 

Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



Click here to view image full size.

Okute from Kisokaido rokujukyutsugi no uchi, “The Sixty-nine Stations of the Kisokaido.” The set of seventy prints was started by Eisen and published by Hoeido in 1835, but in 1837 Hiroshige took over and completed the series with the publisher Iseya Rihei (Kinjudo). Shows woodcutters making their way home as evening approaches.

 

Fine impression: There is a plug of wood next to the last rock on the right. This repair gradually reveals itself and moves out leaving a gap. On the earliest impressions, as here, nothing is discernible. Slight fading of red, otherwise fine colour. Slight centre fold, otherwise fine condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Available

 

Tags: , , ,

 

Utagawa HIROSHIGE II (1826-1869)



Click here to view image full size.

A view of a smoking Mt Asama, Shinano Province, from Shokoku meisho hyakkei, the “One Hundred Views of Famous Places in the Provinces.” Mt Asama is an active volcano which violently erupted in 1108. Subsequently there was another eruption in 1783 and since then there have been minor tremors. Published by Uoya Eikichi between 1859 and 1861 (this being 1859).

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Available

 

Tags: , , ,

 

Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



Click here to view image full size.

A vertical diptych Shunkan sozu Kikaigashima ni oite tamatama Yasuyori no shamen sembo kito no zu. Shows Shunkan watching a boat sail away from Kikai Island with his pardoned compatriots. Shunkan, the abbot of the Zen temple Hoshoji in Kyoto, was exiled to the barren island of Kikaigashima together with two confederates in 1177 for conspiring against Taira no Kiyomori. The following year Kiyomori pardons political prisoners but omits Shunkan. He is seen here beseeching the boat with his two conspirators to return. Published by Matsui 1886.

 

Fine impression of first state. Fine colour with splashed gofun and blind-printing. Fine condition with ample room for joining the two sheets. Signed Yoshitoshi.

 

Status: Available

 

Tags: , , ,

 

Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)



Click here to view image full size.

A very early and extremely rare diptych showing Hakamadare Yasusuke and Hirai no Yasumasa. A famous story depicted many times by other artists during the following century. The story relates how Yasumasa, an accomplished flautist, is playing his flute one evening on Ichihara moor. Unknown to him, the villain Hakamadare Yasusuke is creeping up to steal his sumptuous robe. At the last minute Yasusuke is so captivated by the beauty of the music that he abandons his plan. It turns out he is Yasumasa’s brother and is given a fine set of robes. Published by Iseya Rihei (Kinjudo) c. 1815.

 

Very good impression and colour. Trimmed round. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

Status: Available

 

Tags: , , ,

 

Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



Click here to view image full size.

A triptych, Takanawa tsuki no kei, “Moon at Takanawa” from a set Edo meisho shiki no nagame, “Famous Places of Edo in the Four Seasons.” Shows beauties on the veranda of an inn overlooking the bay. Takanawa was a popular place to visit with views on a clear day of the Boso mountains across Edo Bay. Hiroshige depicted this area many times. Published by Maruya Jimpachi (Enjudo), 1847-8.

 

Very fine impression. Fine colour. Minor trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Available

 

Tags: , , ,

 

Katsukawa SHUNTEI (1770-1820)



Click here to view image full size.

A triptych showing the killing of the giant Earth Spider in its cave. These Tsuchigumo were a form of spider-like yokai. Minamoto no Yorimitsu’s (aka Raiko, 948-1021) retainers (The Four Heavenly Kings) are shown holding the spider down with the trunk of a large tree: Sakata no Kintoki, on first sheet, Watanabe no Tsuna, in the centre, and Urabe no Suetake and Usui Sadamitsu on last sheet (on the left). It is said that when the spider was killed that 1990 dead victims emerged from its stomach. This was a popular story covered by many artists. Published by Enomotoya Kichibei, c. 1808. Rare.

 

Very good impression and colour. Small backed binding holes, otherwise very good condition. Signed Shuntei ga.

 

Status: Available

 

Tags: , , ,

 

Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



Click here to view image full size.

A triptych showing Fujiwara no Hidesato being accompanied by a retinue of fish, octopuses and lobsters as he leaves the Dragon King’s Palace with the presents of inexhaustible rice, bolts of cloth, and a bell in gratitude for killing the centipede of Mount Mikami. Ryugujo Tawara Toda Hidesato ni sanshu no tosan o okura. Published by Maruya Kyushiro, 1858.

 

Very good impression. Good colour. Some light toning and soil. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

Tags: , , ,

 

Utagawa KUNIYASU (1794-1832)



Click here to view image full size.

A triptych Soshu Enoshima Benzaiten Iwaya narabi sairei no zu, “Picture of Iwaya, the Main Shrine, Pilgrims to the Display of Benzaiten at Enoshima.” Enoshima island was a popular place to visit with the Iwaya caves and the shrine of the Buddhist goddess Benzaiten (Benten), goddess of the arts, entertainment and wealth, and one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune. A fascinating print showing a multitude of various visitors. Published by Kawaguchiya Uhei, late 1820s. Rare.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Kuniyasu ga.

 

Status: Available

 

Tags: , , ,

 

Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




Click here to view image full size.

“Goat” from a set Mitate junishi, “Selection for the Twelve Signs.” Shows the beauty Okoma looking through a curtain. Briefly the story relates how she is to be married off to a rich man by her mother but Okoma is in love with another man called Chushichi. A visiting barber cuts Chushichi’s hair and concocts a scheme with him to have her kidnaped and for Chushichi to rescue her. Published by Kojima c 1845. Robinson S38.8.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

Tags: , ,

 

Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




Click here to view image full size.

The best design from a set of half-length otokodate figures: Kuniyoshi moyo shofuda tsuketari genkin otoko, “Men of Ready Money with True Labels Attached, Kuniyoshi Fashion.” Here showing Danshichi Kurobei emptying a bucket of water over himself. Danshichi was a fishmonger in the city of Sakai who murdered somebody in the mid-winterof 1697, the body only being discovered when the snow melted. He is often depicted pouring water over his head, although there are also versions where he commits the crime in a swamp. Published by Ibaya Kyubedi, 1845. Poem by Hoshitei.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Available

Tags: , ,

 

Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




Click here to view image full size.

The death of the Daimyo Imagawa Yoshimoto (1519-60) by Oda Nobunaga during the battle of Okehazama which was fought at night during an intense downpour and was the culmination of the feud between the Imagawa and Oda clans. The battlefield is now a park and a national historical site. The best design from a set Yobu hakkei, “Military Brilliance of the Eight Views.” Each print relates to the famous Eight Views theme, in this case Narumi yau, “Night Rain at Narumi.” Published by Enshuya Hikobei, 1852.

 

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Full size with extra paper left and top, which is unusual as these prints are normally trimmed from albums. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

 

Status: Available

Tags: , ,

 

Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)



Click here to view image full size.

A triptych showing the great wrestling match between Matano Goro Kagehisa and Kawazu Saburo Sukeyasu. The match was refereed by Ebina Gempachi and occurred during a hunting expedition organised by the general Minamoto no Yoritomo in 1176 near Mt. Akazawa. Kawazu was the eventual victor after a rematch, throwing Matano by twisting his foot behind him – a throw still known as the kawazu in his honour. Kawazu was later found murdered – his death being avenged by his sons Juro and Goro. Published by Yamaguchiya Tobei, 1838-40. An earlier version was designed by Kunisada as well as there being an excellent example by Kuniyoshi.

 

 

Very good impression and colour. Minor creasing and wear, otherwise good condition. Signed Kochoro Kunisada ga.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

Tags: , ,

 

Utagawa YOSHIKAZU (Active 1850-1870)



Click here to view image full size.

A triptych showing Miinamoto no Yorimitsu (aka Raiko) and his retainers confronting the giant Earth Spider (Tsuchigumo – a form of spider-like yokai). After a fierce battle Yorimitsu cuts off the head of the spider and 1990 dead victims emerge from its stomach. A popular subject and there are numerous versions by other artists.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Light backing and trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Isshunsai Yoshikazu ga.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

Tags: , ,

 

Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



Click here to view image full size.

Seki and Kameyama from the chuban Muraichi Tokaido. The set of 56 prints published by Muraichi, 1852. Printed two-to-a-sheet uncut and probably from a complete proof set. Double censor’s seals Murata and Kinugasa and date seal 2ic/1852 top right.

 

 

Fine impressions with strong woodgrain showing. Fine colour. Very small binding holes in right border, otherwise fine condition. Signed Hiroshige ga on each print.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

Tags: , ,

 

Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




Click here to view image full size.

A snow scene: Fukagawa kiba, “Fukagawa Timber Yards.” The yards date back and are the result of the Meireki fire of 1657. Large amounts of wood was required for expanding Edo and the wood yards were moved to this area of swampland east of the Sumida River. From the set Meisho Edo hyakkei, “One Hundred Views of Edo.” The set published by Uoya Eikichi 1856-58 (this being 1856). The set comprises 118 prints by Hiroshige and another by Hiroshige II. However, three prints are dated 10/1858, the month following Hiroshige’s death, and these are thought to be by Hiroshige II as well. They are: Ueno Yamashita, Ichigaya Hachiman and Bikunibashi.

 

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Hiroshige hitsu.

 

 

Status: Available

Tags: , ,

 

Utagawa HIROSHIGE II (1826-1869)



Click here to view image full size.

Enshu Akiba enkei Fukuroi tako. Fukuroi, Enshu (Totomi) Province from the “Hundred Views of Famous Places in the Provinces.” An uncompleted set of 81 prints published by Uoya Eikichi between 1859 – 1861 (this being 1859). Shows kite flying with a distant view of Mount Akiba. It has been suggested that the release of confetti was to bring good luck for the forthcoming harvest.

 

 

Very fine impression of the first edition. Fine colour. Very slight soil, otherwise fine condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

Tags: , ,

 

Shotei HOKUJU (1763-1825)




Click here to view image full size.

Shimosa Choshi no ura katsuo tsuribune, “Fishing for Bonito in Choshi Bay in Shimosa Province.” Hokuju, a pupil of Hokusai, produced a number of these fine “westernized” landscapes designed with stylised clouds, cubistic mountains and shadows cast by figures. This is one of the best. Bonito is a favourite fish in Japan where it is in the markets from around May each year. Choshin Bay has always produced the largest seafood catch in Japan. Hokuju produced a substantial body of work in this vein. However, he was not the only one. Okyo, Toyoharu, Hokusai, Kunitora, Kuninao and Shinsai also designed prints in this genre, as well as other artists producing examples. Interestingly, Hiroshige, the pre-eminent landscape artist, designed nothing like this. Indeed, the influences flowed the other way before too long, Hiroshige being a favourite of the Impressionists. This is the rare first edition published by Eijudo, c. 1820. His landscapes were republished by Yamamoto. Rare.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Very good condition. Full size. Signed Shotei Hokuju ga.

 

 

Status: Available

Tags: , ,

 

Hishikawa MOROSHIGE (FL. 1684-1704)




Click here to view image full size.

An original painting showing a high-ranking samurai household at leisure. Moroshige was the senior pupil of Hishikawa Moronobu, and, it is said, was the father of Furuyama Moromasa. Sumi and full colour with gold additions on paper. 11.5 x 19 in; 29 x 48.25 cms. This is most likely from a handscroll as the height is correct, and the slight vertical striations indicate it has been rolled at some time. Painted c. 1700. Some slight loss of pigments, especially the verdigris and minor marks, but all commensurate with the age of the painting. The details on the costumes of the two main figures are exquisite.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 




Click here to view image full size.




Click here to view image full size.

Tags: , ,

 

Utgawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




Click here to view image full size.

Kurodai, black sea bream (Acantho pagus schlegeli) and akadai, red bream (Pagus tumifrons) together with bamboo shoots and Japanese pepper. Poems by Tomigaki Uchiyasu and Kaoan Hoshi. From the first series of ten plus one prints published by Eijudo, c. 1832-34. The set was issued privately for a poetry group (probably the Shingyoku Circle) with judges’ names and extra poems. These prints are of the utmost rarity as probably only enough for the Circle were printed and they seldom come onto the market.

 

 

Fine, early impression before the grey block defect on the tail of the black sea bream. Fine colour. Slight centre fold (as usual), otherwise very good condition. Full size. Kruml 10b (Andon 49). Signed Ichiyusai Hiroshige.

 

 

Status: Available

Tags: , ,

 

Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




Click here to view image full size.

Shimadai, grouper (probably Chilodactylus zonatus) and ainame, greenling (Hexagrammus otakii) together with red-berried nanten. Poem by Kanshunro Nushibito. Probably the first edition (Kruml 18a). From the second series of fish published by Yamasho c. 1840-42.

 

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

Tags: , ,

 

Shunchosai HOKUSHU (Active 1822-32)




Click here to view image full size.

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

Tags: , ,

 

Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)




Click here to view image full size.




Click here to view image full size.

An original drawing by the first Toyokuni. An hanshita-e diptych for a published set of triptychs with title: Yakusha juni tsuki, “Actors in the Twelve Months.” Shows the actors (from the left) Bando Mitsugoro III holding a pipe; Iwai Hanshiro V with an open book; Nakamura Utaemon III about to write a poem; and Segawa Roko IV with another pipe. They are compared to the months of the year, in this case July, the month of the Bon Odori festival and are also a parody of the Six Immortal Poets. The print published by Yamashiroya Toemon (active c. 1801-1817). In fact this set was published Spring, Bunka 6 (1809). Sumi on thin paper laid around edges onto another sheet. Some pentimenti and also shows the initial hurried under-drawing and with annotations for the finished print. Sold together with the two published sheets which shows the lanterns removed at top, the brazier bottom centre and other minor changes. In indifferent condition. An illustrated example of this complete triptych is in the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts.

 

 

The print signed Toyokuni ga. Original hanshita-e by Toyokuni I are extremely rare. Sold “as is” with all imperfections.

 

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

Tags: , ,

 

Mori SOSEN (1747-1821)




Click here to view image full size.

A fine original painting, sumi and light colour on silk; 41.75 x 15 in; 106 x 38.1 cms. His life is not well documented but he is known to have studied under the Kano artist Yamamoto Joshunsai (? -1781) before being drawn into Maruyama Okyo’s (1733-1795) artistic circle and his style is more Shijo than anything else. His animal paintings were evidently highly valued by Okyo. He was an immediate favourite with eastern collectors because of his monkey paintings at which he excelled, although he was more versatile than literature implies and highly accomplished at drawing other animals. But his images of monkeys take precedence and he is considered the pre-eminent painter, east or west, on this subject. He is said to have lived in the woods for three years eating fruit and nuts to better study the monkeys and other animals at close quarters. (Even if this is apocryphal it underlines the appreciation of his commitment to understanding the monkey.) Shows two monkeys on a bough beneath a large red sun. In very good condition. Genuine Sosens (and there are many copies) show a great skill in the way their fur coats are built up with hundreds of fine strokes. The box that goes with the painting has an inscription on the lid: “A painting of monkeys by Mori Sosen” and on the underside of the lid is a guarantee by Ayaoka Yushin (a Shijo painter and pupil of Shibata Zeshin, [1846-1910]) signed Ayaoka with seal Yutoku and dated June 1891. The painting signed “Painted by Mori Sosen early spring [=January] 1800” with seals Mori Shusho and Sosen.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 




Click here to view image full size.




Click here to view image full size.




Click here to view image full size.

Tags: , ,

 

Toba HIROMARU (Active 1804-1818)




Click here to view image full size.

An original painting showing a parading courtesan. Sumi and colour on paper, 45.5 x 11.25 in; 115.5 x 28.5 cms. A rare artist of the Utagawa school. Probably a pupil of Utagawa Toyohiro. His extant paintings show a considerable talent with particularly attenuated faces. Another example is in the MFA, Boston, acc. no. 11.7369 as well as there having been two sold at auction: Christies, NY 16/9/2003, lot 153 and Bonhams NY 18/3/2015, lot 3010. Some minor marks and creasing, but otherwise good condition. Signed Toba Hiromaru hitsu. Seal unread.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 




Click here to view image full size.

Tags: , ,

 

Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




Click here to view image full size.

Tosa, kaijo katsuo tsuri, “Tosa [Province], Bonito Fishing at Sea.” From a set of 69 prints [Dai Nihon] Rokujuyoshu meisho zue, “Famous Places in the Sixty-odd Provinces [of Japan]” published by Koshihei between 1853 and 1856, this being 1855. Tosa, located on the southern coast of the island of Shikoku, was famous for its bonito.

 

 

Very fine impression of the first edition. Fine colour and condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

 

Status: Available

Tags: , ,

 

Utagawa TOYOKUNI II (1777-1835)




Click here to view image full size.

An aizuri (blue) print from a set Tosei bijin hana-awase, “Beauties of the Latest Fashion Compared to the Beauty of Flowers.” In this case kikyo flowers – the Chinese bellflower. Aizuri prints were the outcome of avoiding intermittent edicts promulgated by the bakufu prohibiting the number of blocks that could be used. The aim being to curb excesses, raise moral standards and encourage thrift. Published by Shimizo, c. late 1820s. Three other prints from set are in the Brooklyn Museum of Art, 76.151.13; 14; 15.

 

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

 

Status: Available

Tags: , ,

 

Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




Click here to view image full size.

The actor Sawamura Tossho II in the Okazaki no ba, “Okazaki Scene” from Okazaki no neko, “The Cat of Okazaki.” This episode from the famous play takes place in an old temple at Okazaki on the Tokaido. An old cat witch haunts the temple attacking young women. Published by Daikokuya Kinzaburo, c. mid 1860s. Rare.

 

 

Very good impression, colour and condition. Signed Kunichika hitsu.

 

 

Status: Available

Tags: , ,

 

Utagawa KUNIMARO (Active 1850-1875)




Click here to view image full size.

An oban showing Jiraiya (Ogata Shuma Hiroyuki), a ninja who was able to transmogrify himself into a giant toad. His arch enemy was Orochimaru, a master of serpent magic, who is seen here as a giant snake. Jiraiya kills the snake with his heavy o-zutsu, hand cannon. Based on a multi-volume book by Mizugakiya Egao, Jiraiya goketsu Monogatari, it went on to be a very successful Kabuki play performed at the Kawarazaki-za Theatre in 7/1852 with Ichikawa Danjuro VIII playing Jiraiya. Published by Daikokuya Heikichi, 8/1852.

 

 

Very fine impression. Fine colour. Slightly trimmed at bottom, otherwise very good condition. Signed Kunimaro ga.

 

 

Status: Available

Tags: , ,

 

Utagawa YOSHITORA (Active c. 1840-1880)




Click here to view image full size.

An oban with title: Furyu saya-e: oiran, “Elegant Sheath-Pictures: Oiran.”A catoptric (mirror as opposed to an oblique) anamorphic print showing a parading courtesan. These prints were meant to be viewed in conical or cylindrical mirrors placed at the bottom of the image. The flat distorted image was then seen undistorted. However, in Japan the image was viewed in the curved surface of a sword sheath. Anamorphosis was known in Europe in the early 15th century and also in China during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Published by Enshuya Matabei, c. 1845. Another impression is illustrated in Edo no asobi-e, Shinichi Inagaki, Tokyo Shoseki, 1988, plate 6. Very rare.

 

 

Fine impression. Very good colour and condition. Signed Ichimosai Yoshitora ga.

 

 

Status: Available

Tags: , ,

 

Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




Click here to view image full size.

The best design from the set Tsuki hyakushi, the “Hundred Phases of the Moon.” The set published between 1885 and 1892 (this being 1886) by Akiyama Buemon. Benkei against a full moon. In 1185 Yoshitsune, attacked by his half-brother Minamoto no Yoritomo, was forced to flee to northern Japan by ship. Sailing along the Inland Sea off the coast of Harima Province not far from Kyoto, the ship was struck by a storm in Daimotsu Bay caused by the vengeful ghosts of the Taira warriors Yoshitsune and his men had slain. Benkei pacified the spirits in the prow of the boat by holding up his string of prayer beads.

 

 

Fine impression. (A good guide to the quality of impression is to look at the outline of Benkei’s face: This fine line started to break down early on. The set was popular and many editions were printed and many late impressions exist. Great care was taken with the cutting of the blocks on this set and only early impressions do them justice. There should be subtle gradation in the sky and the title cartouche has hardly any colour.) Fine colour and condition. An impression that has not been in an album. Full margins. Signed Yoshitoshi.

 

 

Status: Available

Tags: , ,