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.

 

 

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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 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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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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A triptych showing Raiko and his four companions conquering the demon of Oe Mountain. Raiko shitenno Oeyama kijin taiji. The story relates how the demon (Shuten-doji) kidnappes young girls and keeps them captive in his lair on Mt. Oe near Kyoto. The great warrior Minamoto no Yorimitsu (Raiko) and four retainers seek out the demon. They inebriate him and cut off his head. However, the beast’s head still takes a bite at Raiko who avoids death by wearing the additional helmets of his followers. Published by Kiya, 1864. An early and very fine design.

 

 

Fine impression and colour with lovely partial oxidation. Slight trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi ga.

 

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE II (1826-1869)



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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

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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 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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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A fine original sumi drawing (hanshita-e) of oban size for an unpublished set, c. 1856. Sumi and light colour with extensive pentimenti on thin paper. Shows two samurai in combat. In extremely good condition.

 

 

Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga. Rare.

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A fine original sumi drawing (hanshita-e) for an unpublished print for the set Tokaido gojusan tsui, “Fifty-three Parallels for the Tokaido Road.” The set was published by various publishers in 1845-6 and was a collaboration with Kunisada and Hiroshige. Sumi on thin paper. This is a design for the lower half of the oban print, the top half having the title and a panel with the name of the post-station. Shows Yamato Takeru no Mikoto. A legendary prince, son of the Emperor Keiko. Shown here with his retainers.

 

 

In extremely good condition. Provenance: Purchased from me in 21/11/1975. Rare.

 

 

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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A cho-oban (20 x 6.75 inches) print showing beauties fishing. The top figure has caught a crayfish. Each design interprets a haiku poem in red, top right. A set of 6 prints published by Matsui Eikichi, 1893. Rare.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Slight creasing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.

 

 

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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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Kitao MASANOBU (Santo KYODEN) (1761-1816)



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One double-oban design from the most sumptuous album ever produced: Yoshiwara keisei: Shin bijin awase jihitsu kagami, “A Mirror of New Yoshiwara Courtesans with Samples of Their Calligraphy.” Published by Tsutaya Juzaburo, 1784. Shows courtesans viewing calligraphic scrolls. Seven double-oban designs were published in album form, although the original intention was for a larger set. Signed on two sheets Kitao sensai Masanobu.

 

 

Fine impression. Extremely good colour. Centre fold (as always), several very small wormholes and minor marks, but otherwise in very good condition.

 

 

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Utgawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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A beauty from a set: Edo meisho gosho, “Five Elements of Famous Places in Edo.” This design representing Water of Kameido, Kameido no mizu, and Metal of Ueno, Uenoji no kane. A rare set published by Kikakudo, c. 1847-52.

 

 

Very fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

 

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI II (1777-1835)




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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.

 

 

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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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Utgawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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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.

 

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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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

 

 

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Ogata GEKKO (1859-1920)




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A triptych showing the last stand of the Kusunoki Clan at the Battle of Shijonawate in 1348. The event took place during the Nanbokucho wars when the Kusunoki Masatsura forces of the Southern Imperial Court were attacked at Yoshino by the Northern forces led by Ko no Moroyasu. Masatsura fought valiantly against a hail of arrows, eventually succumbing and committing suicide. . Published 1883 by Matsuo Danzo (who only appears to have survived one year). There is an earlier triptych version of this by Gekko in 1878. A later and far inferior reprint was published in 1901.

 

 

Superb impression, colour and condition with extensive burnishing. Signed Gekko 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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Utagawa YOSHIKAZU (Active 1850-1870)



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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.

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIMARO (Active 1850-1875)




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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.

 

 

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Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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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.

 

 

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Kawanabe KYOSAI (1831-1889)




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A triptych, Nanba senki no uchi, “The Battle of Nanba,” showing the Buddhist monk Tenkai (1536-1643) chanting a spell, and Okubo Hikozaemon (1560-1639), both retainers of Tokugawa Ieyasu, at the great battle of Domyoji, Osaka, in 1615. Tokugawa Ieyasu’s army clashed with the Osaka army of Toyotomi Hideyori. This led to the fall of Osaka and the death of Hideyori. On the right is a huge exploding land-mine disintegrating a Buddhist stone statue. Published by Ebisuya Shoshichi, 4/1874. Extremely rare: I have only seen one other impression of this design.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Trimmed, otherwise very good condition. Signed Seisai Kyosai and Oju Seisai Kyosai.

 

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE II (1826-1869)




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Gathering iwatake, rock tripe or rock mushrooms in Kii Province. The common name for various edible lichens that grow on cliffs. The gatherers used precarious baskets that were hauled up and down the cliff face to collect them. Kishu Kumano iwatake tori from Shokoku meisho hyakkei. “Hundred Views of Famous Places in the Provinces.” Published by Uoyei 1859-1861 (this being 1860).

 

 

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

 

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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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.

 

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE II (1826-1869)



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Mino Ochiai-bashi. Mino (Noshu) 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 1861). An evening rain scene with figures making their way across the torrential Chitose River, famous for its fishing.

 

 

Very fine impression of the first edition. Fine colour and condition. Signed Hiroshige 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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Kishi GANTAI (1782-1865)




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An extremely large painting, 55.5 x 32 in; 141 x 81.3 cms, sumi and light colour on silk. Shows a pair of Sika deer, their summer coats spotted and white. Gantai was the son and pupil of Ganku, and together with his brother, Renzan, carried on the Kishi school tradition. With his father, worked on the paintings for the new Kanazawa Castle in 1809. A highly accomplished painter, especially of kachoga. This is possibly the largest Gantai painting and it’s interesting to compare with the gajo by him also offered on this update. In very good condition. Framed and glazed. Signed Chikuzennosuke Gantai hitsu with seals Gantai and Kunchin.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 




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Utagawa YOSHITORA (Active c. 1840-1880)




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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.

 

 

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Santo KYODEN (Kitao MASANOBU) (1761-1816)




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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.

 

 

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Ichiunsai KUNIHISA (1832-1891)




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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.

 

 

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TORII School (c. late 1750’s)




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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.

 

 

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Yamamoto FUJINOBU (Active 1750-1770)




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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.

 

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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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.)

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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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.)

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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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.

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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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.

 

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Utagawa NOBUKATSU (Active 1824-1841)



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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.

 

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