Ishikawa TOYONOBU (1711-1785)




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A very fine original painting, sumi and colour on paper with extensive laquer and a large emossed gold floral pattern on the bijin’s kimono; other areas in gold. Image size 35.25 x 17.75 in; 89.5 x 45 cms. Shows an elegant beauty holding up an haori to slip it over the shoulders of a seated nobleman. There is a great feeling of tenderness between the couple in this beautiful painting. In fact Toyonobu produced a print of this exact subject but showing the actors Nakamura Kiyosaburo I as Okiku and Ichimura Kamezo I as Kosuke, a pair of lovers, who were in the play Fujito nikki in 7/1751. Toyonobu must have liked the design and produced this painting but of just the protagonists. See this link in google
for the published print.

Toyonobu was a pupil of Nishimura Shigenaga and his style is also indebted to Okumura Masanobu. Produced some of the most exquisite kakemono-e, hashira-e and large obans of this period which, when they come onto the market, fetch considerable sums of money. (See, for example, Christies auction, N.Y., 18/9/2002, lot 6, ex Vever collection.) For a fine collection of his work, see The Clarence Buckingham Collection of Japanese Prints. The Primitives, 1955, A.I.C., pp. 199 – 229, nos. 1 – 58. Signed Ishikawa Shuha Toyonobu zu with seals Ishikawa uji and Toyonobu. Illustrated in colour in the exhibition catalogue of the Fuchu Art Museum, Artists of the Three Capitals-Learning About Edo Through Kyoto and Osaka, Kaneko, Nobuhisa, Oto, Yumiko, 2012, No. 67, p. 92. The cataloguing gives the play as Hiyoku no kagamon but this is most likely a dance that served as the finale. Hiyoku can mean “wings abreast” and hiyoku no tori, the “hiyoku birds” were a mythical couple who shared a single pair of wings, i.e. two lovers. In fine condition, especially given the age. Painted c. 1751.

 

 

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Utagawa KUNITSUGU (1800-1861)




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An original painting, sumi and colour on silk with extensive splashed and applied gofun. Image size 29.25 x 13.25 in; 74.25 x 33.75 cms. A rare pupil of Toyokuni. Another fine painting by him is in the Minneapolis Institute of Art showing Lady Tokiwa fleeing with her children in the snow. Gift of the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture, 2013.29.170. Shows an eloping (?) couple standing in heavy snow shielded by his umbrella. Signed Kunitsugu fude. Seal unread. Very good condition.

 

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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Two volumes complete Yakusha sugao natsu no Fuji, “Portraits of Actors Compared to Fuji in the Summer.” (In other words, without white makeup.) Vol. one: Preface signed Santoan Kyozan. Frontispiece illustration showing Mt. Fuji and nine double-page illustrations of actors and their acolytes in a variety of pursuits offstage. Postscript dated Bunsei 11 (1828). Vol: two: Preface by Tsuruya Namboku IV dated 9/1827. Frontispiece illustration showing a washbowl and fan and nine double-page illustrations of actors from Edo, Kyoto and Osaka. Postscript signed Kochoro Utagawa Kunisada ga with seal Gotokan to tekichoku ko and the publishers: Tsuruya Kiemon; Yamamoto Kyubei; Eijudo (Nishimuraya Yohachi); Kansendo (Izumiya Ichibei); Kinrindo (Moriya Jihei). This fascinating book shows actors in and around their residencies. Replaced title slips and covers. Fine impressions and very good colour. Minor marks and thumbing. Rare.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 




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Torii KIYOMITSU (1735-1785)




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An hosoban showing the actor Ichimura Uzaemon IX in the role of Hanako performing the famous dance in Musume Dojoji, “The Maiden at Dojoji Temple.” Hanako is allowed to dance before the new bell at the temple only to reveal herself as the spirit of Kiyohime who killed the priest Anchin hidden beneath the first bell. Published by Nishimuraya Yohachi c 1765.

 

 

Fine impression. Very good colour and condition. Signed Torii Kiyomitsu ga.

 

 

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Suzuki HARUNOBU (1724-1770)




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A chuban shunga print showing the occupant of a kago in flagrante with one of the porters, having seized the opportunity of a stop on the journey. Published late 1760s. Rare.

 

 

Very fine impression on thick hosho: The outlines raised in certain areas. Fine colour and condition.

 

 

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Kitagawa UTAMARO (1753-1806)




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An aiban showing a mother and daughter from a set Tosei fuzoku hakkei, “Eight Views of Manners of Today.” This design probably referring to Mother’s Day. Another from the set is illustrated in Ukiyoe Zuten, no. 13, Utamaro, Kiyoshi Shibui, p. 107. Published by Izumiya Ichibei, c 1803.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Minor mark au verso at top, otherwise fine condition. Signed Utamaro hitsu.

 

 

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Kitagawa UTAMARO (1753-1806)




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An aiban showing an elegant couple holding falcons. Takagari, Japanese falconry, is said – as so much else in Japan – to have come from China around the 4th century. A symbol of nobility and a status symbol. Published C 1803.

 

 

Fine impression with excellent colour. Minor mark extreme bottom right, otherwise fine condition. Signed Utamaro hitsu.

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Travellers viewing Mount Asama. Usui-toge yori Asama o miru zu, “A View of Mount Asama from Usui Pass.” From Kuniyoshi’s best landscape set. Of the utmost rarity with most extant impressions differing. This and the impression in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, are similar, without the smoke coming from the cone of Asama (the most active volcano on Honshu). Other impressions are in: The British Museum, 1948, 0410, 0. 108, which has gradation up the left side of the mountain; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, JP 1424, which has gradation down from the summit; and Worcester Art Museum which is similar to the Mets, 1901. 692. Published by Yamaguchiya Tobei, c. 1836.

 

 

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

 

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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A snow scene: Yushima Tenjin sakaue chobo, “Hilltop View, Yushima Tenjin Shrine.” The shrine is dedicated to scholars and is near Ueno Park. 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.

 

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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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.

 

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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Koganeibashi no sekisho, “Evening Glow at Koganei Bridge.” From a fine and rare early set Edo kinko hakkei, ”Eight Views in the Environs of Edo.” This area was famous for its cherry trees and visitors are seen cherry viewing. It is also where the Tamagawa-josui was made to draw water from the Tama River into Edo. This set was first published privately for the Taihaido Poetry Club by the publisher Sanoya Kihei (Kikakudo) c 1837-8. (Similar to Hiroshige’s first set of fish prints.) For obvious reasons examples of these prints are of the utmost rarity. An entire set is in the Baur Collection, Matthi Forrer, 1994, nos. G492 – G499, this being G495. They have the copyright owner’s name in the left border, Taihaido Nomimasu, who was the head of the poetry club. They also have three poems on each design. The commercial edition, as here, has one or two poems and loses the Taihaido name. (Again, similar to the fish series.) These prints, initially not intended for commercial consumption, are more refined with a greater degree of care taken with the cutting of the blocks. Contrary to later sets, figures are small, pigments are subdued and large foreground objects are not in evidence yet. One of Hiroshige’s finest sets. Rare.

 

 

Very fine impression. Fine colour. Small edge nibble on top border and minimal edge soil, otherwise fine condition with large margins. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

 

Status: Reserved

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)




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Shows the actor Onoe Shoroku I as Osakabehime, Princess Osakabe, a phantom who haunted the battlements of Himeji Castle. The character appeared in the play Matazoro Shoroku Osakabe banashi performed at the Ichimura-za Theatre from 22/5/1814. But this is probably a shini-e published the following year as it bears the information that Shoroku was 71 when he died (10/1815). Shoroku was renowned for his ghost roles. Published by Yamaguchiya Tobei who also published an impressive Kunisada vertical diptych of the same subject in 1814.

 

 

Very good impression, colour and condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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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.

 

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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“Flood” from a series Seiu kandankei, “A Barometer of Emotions.” Shows Nakamura Shikan III as Abe Bungo no Kami riding his horse through waves. Published by Okura Magobei 1876-77 (this being 1876). A rare set with some striking designs comparing actors in theatrical roles with meteorological phenomena.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Slight trimming, otherwise fine condition. Signed Oju Yoshitoshi hitsu.

 

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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A vertical diptych Seigen daraku no zu showing the priest Seigen of the Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto and the beautiful Sakura-hime (Princess Sakura). Several versions of the story exist. In one, Sakura-hime is Seigen’s long-deceased lover reincarnated as a young priest called Shiragiku. In another, Shiragiku is the dead lover reborn as Sakura-hime. The main thrust of the tale is that Seigen’s lust gets the better of him resulting in his removal from the temple. It was the basis of the play Sakura Hime azuma bunsho premiered 3/1817. This is the rare first state of the first edition published by Matsui Eikichi, 1889. It was republished by Hasegawa Tsunejiro in 1889 with the publisher and date in left border and on most impressions a seal at top left reading “Reproduction not allowed.”

 

 

Very fine impression with hand-applied colour to the eyes, teeth and nails with gum overlay to eyes on Seigen. Fine colour. Minor edge wear to right, otherwise fine condition. Ample room for joining. Signed Yoshitoshi.

 

 

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Kikugawa EIZAN (1787-1867)




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A triptych showing courtesans enjoying themselves on a balcony overlooking Tokyo bay. Furyu minami eki shiohi, “Fashionable South Station at Ebb Tide.” In fact, clam digging at low tide which can be seen in the background. This is a play on words as clams had erotic connotations. Shiohigari, “clam gathering” season is March to June with the peak coinciding with Golden Week at the end of April beginning of May. Published by Maruya Jinpachi, c. late 1810s.

 

 

Very fine impression and colour. Impeccable condition. Signed Kikugawa Eizan hitsu.

 

 

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Utagawa YOSHIYUKI (Active 1848-1864)




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A triptych showing one of the great combats of the Gempei wars during the battle of Ichi-no-Tani to the west of Kobe in 1184. In the centre the Taira leader Satsuma no Kami Tadanori holds down the Minamoto Okabe Rokuyata Tadazumi. On the left Gennai Saemon Hidekata and on the right Adachi Saburo Munetaka. Tadanori was a renowned warrior and distinguished poet. Published by To c. 1848.

 

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Ichireisai Yoshiyuki ga.

 

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Nihonbashi no hakuu, “Light Rain on Nihon Bridge.” From a Toto meisho set of 21 designs published between c. 1832 and 1839 by Kikakudo. The set was subsequently enlarged. Shows figures crossing Nihonbashi in rain, one figure carries an umbrella with the publisher’s name. Warehouses in the background and a distant view of Fuji. A beautiful print and very difficult to find in early impression: The title cartouche had a plug inserted beside the bottom three characters of the title on the left. This damage seems to have occurred when the block was cut and over time the spigot gradually slipped out leaving an unprinted area (which is sometimes painted in). In the earliest impressions the plug is hardly visible (as here). Also, the publisher’s seal at the bottom right should be in red, later editions having it in black. There was also an early variant edition with a yellow sky.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Imperceptible centre fold, also near the right edge, otherwise very good condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Katsushika HOKUSAI (1760-1849)




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A design interpreting a poem by the Lady of Ise (c. 875-c. 938) from an unfinished set Hyakunin isshu uba ga etoki, “The Hundred Poems [By the Hundred Poets] as Told by the Nurse.” Published 1835-36 by Eijudo with 27 prints known and 67 outstanding drawings for the set. Shows a mother and daughter or lady and servant at a window overlooking Naniwa Inlet with rice fields in the distance and men working on the roof of the building they are in.

 

 

Fine early impression with woodgrain showing on the roof. Fine colour. Small nick out of right edge, otherwise fine condition. Signed Zen Hokusai manji.

 

 

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.

 

 

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Shotei HOKUJU (1763-1825)




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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.

 

 

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Utagawa KUNITORA (Active early 19th c.)




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An aiban yoko-e print from an extremely rare and fine set of prints published 1810s by Yamasho. Kunitora’s finest set. Hira bosetsu, “Evening Snow at Mount Hira” from a set Omi hakkei, “Eight Views of Omi.” The set employs strong Western elements with hatching and sinuous hills and houses. Four designs from the set are illustrated in The Western-Style Colour-Prints In Japan, Usaburo Toyama, 1936, nos. 180-183 (this design being 182). A wonderful design.

 

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Oxidation on the title label. Signed Kunitora ga.

 

 

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Kikugawa EIZAN (1787-1867)




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A vertican oban diptych showing a courtesan holding a letter between her teeth. This, and biting a towel, were considered highly erotic and the prelude to intimate relations. Her obi, which has a design of a dragon amongst clouds, is printed with extensive mica added to the grey ground.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Minor marks, otherwise fine condition. Signed Kikugawa Eizan hitsu.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIMARU (1794-1829)



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An uncut fan print showing a beauty looking into a lacquered hand mirror which she has withdrawn from a lacquered cabinet. Kunimaru produced some exceptional fans, of which this is one. However, his work in other fields is not noteworthy and it does pose the question if there were two artists with the same name ? Published 1827. Of particular interest is the design on the under-garment she is holding which has a Dutch motif of cherubs. Rare.

 

 

Very fine impression with strong burnishing on the mirror case, cabinet and her hair. Fine colour. Small repaired binding holes, otherwise very good condition. Signed Kunimaru hitsu.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)



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An uncut fan print showing the actor Sawamura Chojuro V as Ono no Tofu (aka Ono no Michikaze) in the play Ono no Tofu aoyagi suzuri performed at the Ichimura-za Theatre, 3/1850. Shows the character holding a large umbrella. Published by Ibaya Senzaburo, 1850 (who seems to have specialised in fans).

 

 

Extremely fine impression and colour with extensive burnishing. Minimal soil at bottom, otherwise fine condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIMARU (1794-1829)




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An uchiwa-e (fan print) showing summer flowers : hydrangea, peony, iris, chrysanthemum, morning glory, etc against a yellow ground. Of the utmost rarity: possibly the only recorded example. Published by Ibaya Senzaburo with date seal Bunsei 10 (1827). Ex Werner Schindler collection, seal au verso, and illustrated in Masterpieces of ukiyo-e prints from the Schindler collection, Kondo/Suzuki, Tokyo, 1985, pl. 165, p. 140.

 

 

Fine impression; very good colour and condition. Signed Kunimaru hitsu.

 

 

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Teisai HOKUBA (1771-1844)



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One of Hokusai’s best pupils. Known for his paintings of beauties but also designed some fine surimono. An original fan painting showing a reclining beauty. Sumi and light red on silvered paper, 7.25 x 17.75 in; 18.5 x 45.2 cms. Removed from a fan, so rib folds and other minor marks. Signed Hokuba ga.

 

 

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Katsushika HOKUSAI (1760-1849)




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An important large brush drawing in red ink showing a full length figure wielding a stave at a cowering adversary. The standing figure has no sword or armour but is obviously a chivalrous man of great probity. The leaning attitude of the upright figure is typical of Hokusai (for example, see Theodore Bowie, Indiana University Press, 1974, The Drawings of Hokusai, no. 108) and gives movement to what otherwise would be a static pose. Red ink was frequently used by Hokusai, not just on the obvious Shoki paintings (see nos. 160-161, pages 254-5, Timothy Clark, Hokusai Beyond The Great Wave, B.M., 2017) but as underdrawing on figures and landscapes (see nos. 178-182, pages 279-283, Timothy Clark, Hokusai Beyond The Great Wave, B.M., 2017). Red ink and wash on thin Japanese paper laid onto european paper, image area 16.5 x 15.5 in; 41.5 x 39.5 cms. An area not pertinent to the design missing top right but otherwise in good condition. Provenance: Ex collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller (inventory number 23.040).

 

 

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Utagawa KUNINAO (1793-1854)




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A pair of original paintings: One showing a beauty being followed by her servant down a jetty into a waiting boat. He protects her with an umbrella in one hand and carries food on a tray with the other. The whole scene under heavy snow. The other painting shows a beauty composing a poem. Above a wild goose flies before a full moon. Probably originally two of three setsu-getsu-ka, “Snow, Moon, Flowers.” A theme popular with ukiyo-e artists and originally derived from China. Kuninao studied under Toyokuni and then Hokusai and is also known for many illustrated books. His paintings now rare. Each painting full colour on silk, image size 36.5 x 12.75 in; 92.5 x 32.5 cms. In excellent condition. Beautifully presented with new mounts. One painting signed Kohsoen hitsu with seal Shohzan.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 




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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A night scene illuminated by a band of light from a hand-lantern. Shows Ushiwaka-maru (Yoshitsune) battling with the outlaw priest Kumasada Chohan and his band of thieves who were attempting to rob the inn where Yoshitsune was staying. Published by Ibaya Sensaburo, c. 1839-41. A fine design.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A triptych showing the night attack in pouring rain by the brothers Juro Soga and Goro Soga on their father’s murderer Kudo Suketsune. They had waited 18 years for the opportunity which came in 1193 when there was a hunting party held at the base of Mount Fuji by the Shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo. Soga kyodai chichi no ada-uchi no zu. In the centre is Goro and on the left Juro. Above, the cloth panels with the paulownia crest of the Minamoto clan. Published by Sanoya Kihei, 1851-3.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Slight trimming at top and residual glue at edge of centre sheet, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Okumura MASANOBU (1686-1764)




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An hashira-e showing Shoki, the Chinese demon queller, Chung Kwei, about to plunge a sword into an oni. Another pillar print showing Shoki from the same period is illustrated in The Clarence Buckingham Collection of Japanese Prints, The Primitives, Helen C. Gunsaulus, AIC, 1955, no. 103, p. 166. Published c. 1745. Rare.

 

 

Very good impression. A sumi-e, printed in sumi with washes of sumi applied by hand. Slight toning, otherwise very good condition.Pillar prints are often toned because they were hung and, of course, this is especially true of the earlier examples, as here. Signed Hogetsudo
Tanchosai Okumura Bunkaku Masanobu Baio ga with seal Tanchosai.

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Kaneko Kugutsune (aka Okane, Kane-jo, and Omi no Okane) from the set Chuko meiyo kijin den, “Stories of Remarkable Persons of Loyalty and High Reputation.” Published by Iseya Ichiemon or Enshuya Matabei (this design) 1845. Robinson S35.5. Known as the Strong Woman of Omi, she is credited with subduing a runaway horse by holding its rein down with her geta. She is shown here with her washtub, the wild horse in the background.

 

 

Superb impression and colour. Very slight crinkling , trimmed close and some small wormage, otherwise fine condition. Signed Cho-o-ro Kuniyoshi ga.

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Jigoku Dayu, the “Hell Courtesan” from the set Chuko meiyo kijin den, “Stories of Remarkable Persons of Loyalty and High Reputation.” Published by Iseya Ichiemon or Enshuya Matabei (this design) 1845. Robinson S35.3. She was a courtesan who found enlightenment through the Buddhist monk Ikkyu. (The fly-whisk she holds denotes her enlightenment.) Sold to a brothel, she believed her misfortune was due to karma and is always depicted with robes depicting images of hell.

 

 

Very fine impression and colour. Very slight crinkling and trimmed close, otherwise fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa YOSHIKAZU (Active c 1849-1867)




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Kato Kiyomasa (aka Masakiyo, 1562-1611) hunting man-eating tigers with his cohorts in Korea. Masakiyo ko toragari no zu. Kiyomasa had two expeditions to Korea in 1592 and 1597. Published by Hiranoya Shinzo, 1861.

 

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Ichikawa Yoshikazu ga.

 

 

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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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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