Utagawa TOYOKUNI (1769-1825)



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The elongated figure of the famous oiran Marino Yoyoharu parading with her kamuro Ikeno Yoyoume. Above, on a banner hanging from a tree, is the name and address of the courtesan’s location in the Yoshiwara: Sumimachi, Matsubaya uchi. Published by Tsuraya Juzaburo, c. 1796, Toyokuni’s best period. This courtesan was also depicted by Eisui and Utamaro and others around this date.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Slight trimming and edge soil, otherwise good condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Torii KIYOMITSU (1735-1785)




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A large oban panel, 11.75 x 16.5 in; 29.75 x 42 cms showing three beauties playing, from the left, a shamisen, a koto, and a kokyu in an interior with hand-painted screens. A beautiful and important print. Kiyomitsu was the son and pupil of Kiyonobu II, the third of the Torii line and a prominent print designer. He pioneered the polychrome print which was brought to full fruition by Harunobu. Benizuri-e with beni, blue, yellow and green by superimposing blocks. Published by Kichi Uemura (Kichiemon of Emi-ya) c. 1764. There was a convention of printing three hosoban designs to a sheet from the 1720s to 1760s with a linking theme, in this case even though the image is signed three times it is as one. Exceptionally rare: The only other impression appears to be that in the Ritsumeikan University, Japan, Z 0165-424. An unread collector’s seal bottom right.

 

Fine impression and colour. Minor expertly restored areas, but in fine condition for a print of this size and date. Signed three times Torii Kiyomitsu ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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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: Sold

 

 

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Kesai EISEN (1790-1848)




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An aizuri-e vertical oban diptych with touches of red and green. A response to censorship bans which were promulgated to curtail excessive extravagance. (In this case the use of multiple blocks.) The bans were extended to the theatre and other areas that the Shogunate deemed to be susceptible to degeneration. Shows a sumptuously attired courtesan. Published by Sanoya Kihei, c. 1830s.

 

 

Superb impression: The cutting and printed of the block for the costume is of the highest order. Very fine colour and condition. Signed Kesai Eisen ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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A triptych showing two beauties and a maidservant lighting their way with a lantern and carrying a shamisen box. The beam of light from the lantern illuminates the foreground figures and the leaping dog but leaves the background figures in silhouette. A lovely design. Another impression is illustrated in The Baur Collection, Matthi Forrer, 1994, volume 1, G266. Published by Mikawaya Seiemon, c. mid 1820s.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Imperceptible fold, otherwise very good condition. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI II ( TOYOSHIGE ) (1777-1835)




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A courtesan with a toothpick and playing with a cat compared to the actor Iwai Hanshiro V ( inset in a sake cup top right ). From a series Imayo bijin awase, shinsei sugatami sakazuki, “A Comparison of Modern Beauties – A New Mirror of Sake Cups.” Published by Imariya Ushizo, c 1820-24.

 

Very good impression, colour and condition. Extensive mica added to the coat of the courtesan. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

Status: Sold

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)




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Shows a seated lady holding a fan compared to the actor Segawa Senjo ( previously known as Segawa Kikunojo III, inset in fan upper left ). From a series Ukiyo butai-ko Senjo-fu, “Fragrance from the Floating World’s Stage, in the Style of Senjo.” Published by Tsumuraya Saburobei, c 1810.

 

Fine impression. Light yellow ground. Very good colour and condition. Signed Toyokuni ga with an unidentified collector’s seal.

 

Status: Sold

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Torii KIYOMINE ( KIYOMITSU II ) (1787-1868)




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Beauties on the beach at Kamakura with white cranes. This is an allusion or pastiche ( mitate ) of the story that Minamoto Yoritomo’s favourite amusement was flying cranes with labels attached to their legs requesting those who saw them to report the fact and fly them again. Kiyomine, a pupil of Kiyonaga, used – as here – the Kiyomine signature on his early work, c 1815. Published by Eijudo han ( Nishimura-ya ).


Very good impression and colour. Small area repaired wormage, otherwise very good condition. Signed Kiyomine ga.


Status: Sold

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Suzuki HARUNOBU (1724-1770)




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A chuban showing the courtesan Matsukaze of the Ogi-ya House from a set of prints: Ukiyo kika, “Strange Flowers of the Floating World.” Shows the courtesan parading outside a Yoshiwara house with her two kamuro. One of the most influential ukiyo-e artists taking full advantage of polychrome printing in 1765 and publishing a large number of exquisite prints, often with innovative pigments and on thick hosho. Published c late 1760s. Another impression in Yoshida, Harunobu zenshu, p. 128.


Fine impression. Slight fading otherwise very good condition. Signed Harunobu ga.


Status: Sold

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Keisai EISEN (1790-1848)




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An amorous couple on a balcony with a large full moon. One of the three best designs from a set of twelve prints: Keisei higo, “Secret Words of a Courtesan” published c 1822-25. Although the set comes under the shunga heading, each print is an abuna-e design, without any graphic detail. Fine composition.


Fine impression and colour. Laid onto board from the original album. Small wormage and slight centre fold ( as usual ), otherwise good condition.


Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Women washing cloth in the Chofu River from a set of six triptychs of the Six Tama (or Jewel, or Crystal) Rivers. Musashi no kuni Chofu Tamagawa, “Chofu Crystal River in Musashi Province.” Published by Sanoya Kihei, 1847-8.

 

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

 

Status: Sold

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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Spring from a set of triptychs Zensei shiki, “The Four Seasons at their Height.” (Actually, only three designs known.) Shows beauties enjoying an outing at the Risshun Plum Garden on the first day of spring at Hara village in the Ebara District. Published by Akiyama Buemon, 3/1884.

 

Superb impression of the first edition with de-luxe pigments; the red double-printed (lacking on later editions), blind-printing, burnishing, and beautiful bokashi. Fine colour and condition. Signed Oju Yoshitoshi hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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Niai-so: Koka nenkan kuruwa no geisha fuzoku, “Looking suitable: the appearance of a brothel geisha of the Koka era” (1844-1848). From the set Thirty-two Aspects of Women published by Tsunashima Kamekichi, 1888. Shows the beauty dressed as a fashionable young man.

 

 

Very fine impression of the first edition. Very fine colour with blind-printing and burnishing. Gold (brass powder) applied to the peacock design on the costume. This particular design from the set is notorious for having the brass degrade the paper and these areas fall out as well as offsetting onto the opposite print in album sets. Very fine condition. Signed Yoshitoshi ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Shows a beauty composing a letter from a set of ten prints Fukutoku gane no narikei, “Virtuous Women and the Money Tree.” Published by Aritaya Kiyoemon, c. 1847-50. The money tree branches make up the kanji characters of the sub-title, in this case Shuseki, the tree of good writing.

 

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

 

Status: Sold

 

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Katsukawa SHUN’EI (1762-1819)



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A parading courtesan with her two kamuro. Published c. late 1790s by Murataya Jirobei (Eiyudo). Unsigned, but the manner of drawing the courtesan’s face is typical of Shun’ei. Interestingly, another unsigned print (with spurious Shunsho signature) but by Shun’ei is illustrated in The Actor’s Image, Clark & Ueda, A.I.C., 1994, no. 130, p. 346, and has the same publisher.

 

Very good impression and colour. Some small expertly restored wormage at left edge, otherwise very good condition.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Keisai EISEN (1790-1848)




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The courtesan Shiratama of the Sanomatsuya House in the Shin Yoshiwara seated looking into a mirror. Episode Sekidera from a Seven Komachi set: Shin Yoshiwara yugimi nana Komachi. The set based on the seven episodes in the life of the famous 9th century poetess Ono no Komachi. Published by Tsuta-ya, c 1830.


Very good impression of the first state. Superb, unfaded colour. Fine condition; full size. Signed Kei


Status: Sold

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Keisai EISEN (1790-1848)




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The courtesan Efuku of the Owariya House in the Shin Yoshiwara seated at a low desk and holding a toothpick. Episode Kiyomidzu from a Seven Komachi set: Shin Yoshiwara yugimi nana Komachi. The set based on the seven episodes in the life of the famous 9th century poetess Ono no Komachi. Published by Tsuta-ya, c 1830.


Very good impression of the first state. Superb, unfaded colour. Fine condition; full size. Signed Keisai Eisen ga.


Status: Sold

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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Mita-so: Tempo nenkan o-kosho fuzoku, “Looking Inquisitive: The Appearance of a Maid in the Tempo Era” ( 1830 – 1844 ). From the set: Thirty-two Aspects of Women published by Tsunashima Kamekichi, 1888. Shows a maid peering through a summer bamboo screen.

 

Superb impression of the first edition. Very fine colour and condition with the extra paper at left edge and the full handling area showing bottom right. Beautiful blind-printing and a polished pattern applied to the black obi. Signed Yoshitoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Etchu Namerikawa otako, “Giant Octopuses in Namerikawa in Etchu” and sub-title Oo itai, “Ouch.” Obviously the cat’s claw being compared to the menacing tentacles of the octopus. A series of seventy prints Sankai medetai zue, “Affectionate Feelings for Mountains and Seas.” The set compares half-length beauties with famous products of the locality. Published by Tsurakichi, 1852. Kuniyoshi was particularly fond of cats and his studio was known to be home to a number of them. This may be his best evocation of a cat.

 

Superb impression with the cat’s coat blind-printed. Very fine colour and condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)



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A beauty climbing stairs, the ninth month from a set of twelve. Published c 1813 by Nishimuraya Yohachi. Beauties ascending stairs was a stock subject for ukiyo-e artists. I’m not sure why.

 

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Chobunsai EISHI (1756-1829)




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An aiban from a set of four prints: Shiki warabe asobi, a series of prints comparing young children to the four seasons. Another from the set is illustrated in Estampes Japonaises. Collection des Musees royeaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Bruxelles, 1989, cat. 319, p. XXXIX ( incorrectly attributed to Eisho ). Published by Izumiya Ichibei 1795-6.


Very good impression, colour and condition. Full size. Signed Eishi.


Status: Sold

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)




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A beauty from a set Furyu hakkei, “Fashionable Eight Views.” Each beauty represents one of the famous Eight Views of Omi, here being Evening Glow at Seta.This theme, which originates from China, is often encountered in Japanese art. Shows a young woman unrolling a scroll with a view (presumably) of Seta Bridge. An extremely rare set with the designs standing alone but also forming diptychs. Three other single prints from the set are illustrated in Ukiyoe-e Taikei, vol. 9, no. 6, Night Rain, in colour, and nos. 101, Evening Snow and 102, Returning Sail, in b/w. A complete (faded) diptych is in the MFA Boston, Returning Sail and Returning Geese, 21.7473-4. I cannot, at the moment, locate another impression of this design. Published by Izumiya Ichibei (Kansendo) c 1794 – Toyokuni’s best period. Provenance: Ex collection Hayashi (seal bottom left) and Louis Gonse. A beautiful print.

 

 

Fine impression. Slight loss of gold in cloud at top but otherwise fine colour. Fine condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Kitagawa UTAMARO (1753-1806)




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Shows Shinanoya Ohan (left) and Obiya Choemon from a series of half-length portraits of pairs of lovers featured in joruri love-suicide plays. Jisu kurabe iro no minakami, “True Feelings Compared: The Founts of Love.” Choemon was the adopted heir of Obiya, an obi business in Kyoto. Ohan was a young girl from the Shinanoya store next door. In fact, the drama is based on an actual event in Kyoto during the Kyoho era. Two dead bodies were discovered in the Katsuragawa; one of a 50 year old man, the other of a 14 or 15 year old girl. Published by Nishimuraya “Sei” c 1798-9. Another impression is in the MFA Boston, 11.14296. Provenance: Ex Louis Gonse collection. Rare.

 

 

Fine impression. Exceptionally good colour. Fine condition. Signed Utamaro hitsu.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Chobunsai EISHI (1756-1829)




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A parading oiran, Senzan of the Choji-ya, with her two kamuro Isoji and Hanaji. From a set Seiro moyo awase “Comparisons of Brothel Patterns.” Published by Nishimuraya Yohachi (Eijudo), c 1796-7. See Brandt, Hosoda Eishi, Eike Moog, 1977, 100. No. 263. Provenance: Ex Louis Gonse collection.

 

 

Fine impression. Exceptional colour. Fine condition.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Kitagawa UTAMARO (1753-1806)



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A benigirai-e (red-avoiding) triptych showing from right to left: A young nobleman with a falcon, a beauty beside him holding his sword and another seated smoking a pipe; the centre panel shows two women and a child holding a small falcon; while the last sheet has two women selecting eggplants from the baskets of an eggplant seller. The backdrop for the whole scene is a majestic Mt. Fuji. The combination of Fuji, falcon and eggplant is known as Ichi-Fuji, Ni-Taka, San-Nasubi (1-Fuji, 2-Falcon, 3-Eggplant) and it is supposed to be good luck to dream of these three in the first dream of the New Year (or, in fact, on the second night, the first being sleepless. The following day is known as hatsuyume). Extremely rare: the only impression I can find is illustrated in Kiyoshi Shibui, Ukiyoe zuten, No. 13, Utamaro, p. 37. (The date given here is 1801, although the late 1790s might be more appropriate as the vogue for benigirai-e [probably as a response to sumptuary edicts] was prevalent around the 1790s.) Published by Murataya Jirobei of Eiyudo. Another triptych by Utamaro of this subject is illustrated in Yoshida, Utamaro zenshu, p. 156. A very fine design.

 

Fine impression. Extremely good colour: these pigments are very susceptible to any light or moisture. Extremely good condition.Signed Utamaro hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Hosoda EISHI (1756-1829)




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A triptych representing Matsukaze, “The Wind in the Pines,” Chapter XVIII, from a set of triptychs Furyu yatsushi Genji, “Genji in Modern Dress.” Brandt, Hosoda Eishi, Stuttgart, 1977, lists nine from the series (this being no. 58, p. 116, illustrated p. 16). Based on the famous early 11th century novel Genji Monogatari written by Murasaki Shikibu. Shows court ladies, one playing a koto on the engawa far right, others welcoming the arrival of Prince Genji, far left. Published by Senichi, c. 1792. Provenance: Ex Worcester Art Museum and Louis W. Black collections, sold Sothebys N.Y., 4/3/1976, lot 122.

 

Extremely fine impression and perfect unfaded colours. Album backing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Eishi ga (with a small sumi insertion to read Eisui).

 

Status: Sold

 

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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.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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Urusa-so: Kansei nenkan shojo no fuzoku, “Looking Tiresome: The Appearance of a Virgin of the Kansei Era [1789-1801]” Shows a young woman playing with her cat from a set Thirty-two Aspects of Women published by Tsunashima Kamekichi, 1888. The set shows women of different backgrounds and occupations from the Kansei era through to the Meiji era with punning allusions to their situation or mood. One of the three best designs from the set.

 

 

Very fine impression of the first edition with blind printing on the cat. Fine colour and condition with the extra border left and top. Signed Yoshitoshi ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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Kayu-so: Kaei nenken kakoi-mono no fuzoku, “Looking Itchy: The Appearance of a Kept Woman of the Kaei era [1848-1854]. Shows a bare-breasted beauty emerging from a mosquito net from a set Thirty-two Aspects of Women published by Tsunashima Kamekichi, 1888. The set shows women of different backgrounds and occupations from the Kansei era through to the Meiji era with punning allusions to their situation or mood. One of the three best designs from the set.

 

 

Very fine impression of the first edition. Fine colour and condition with the extra border left and top. Signed Yoshitoshi ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Isoda KORYUSAI (1735-1790)




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An oiran, Meizan (or Nayama) of the Chojiya House in the Shin-Yoshiwara with her two kamuro. From a large series – the total not known – with title: Hinagata wakana no hatsu moyo, “New Designs as Fresh as Young Leaves.” Published in the late 1770s by Eijudo with some designs by Juzaburo. A wonderful set. Another impression in MFA, 11.14622.

 

 

Fine impression. Exceptionally good colour. Very slight thinning down two sides, otherwise fine condition. Signed Koryu ga with printed kakihan.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A triptych: Mitate gogyo: Mizu, Ukifune, “Comparisons of the Five Elements: Water,” Ukifune. Shows Prince Genji in a boat with his attendants feeding ducks during the winter. Ukifune was the nickname of a princess in The Tale of Genji. An unrecognised daughter of the Eighth Prince in the 51st Chapter of the story. Ukifune also means: “A boat set adrift.” Published by Sanoki (Sanoya Kihei), 1851-52.

 

 

Superb impression, colour and condition. Signed Ichiyusai

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Torii KIYONAGA (1752-1815)




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A chuban print showing a woman at a washtub watched by a small child. Another woman is hanging a kimono out to dry. Without any series title but with a scalloped cloud above which may have been intended to have a title. Published c. late 1770s. Rare: Not listed in Hirano, Chie Hirano, Kiyonaga, MFAB, 1939.

 

 

Superb impression, colour and condition. Possibly a proof impression. Signed Kiyonaga ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Kitao SHIGEMASA (1739-1820)




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Kanzashi no seiran, “Clearing Weather of the Hairpin” from a chuban set Jochu tedogu hakkei, “Eight Views of Women’s Utensils.” Published c. 1777. Another from the set published in the Clarence Buckingham Collection of Japanese Prints, Margaret O. Gentles, vol. II, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1965, no. 21, p. 283.


Very good impression, colour and condition. Unsigned.


Status: Sold

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Hosoda EISHI (1756-1829)




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A small chuban print showing silkworm cultivation. Two girls feed mulberry leaves to the silkworms, another stands behind. A certain license was taken with this subject and designs did not necessarily faithfully follow the procedure or the girls truly depict the actual labourers. Published by Nishimuraya Yohachi, c 1800. This set (probably of 12) would have been printed two-to-a-sheet. Rare.

 

Fine impression and fine unfaded colours. Fine condition. Signed Eishi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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The poetess Ome Shushiki (1668-1725) looking at a poem attached to a tree at Ueno. A chu-tanzaku set of eight prints: Kenjo hakkei, “Eight Views of Accomplished Women.” The set published by Ibaya Sensaburo, c 1843-5. Based on the famous Chinese Eight Views, Japanese artists designed many sets using the Eight Views of Omi as their starting point. Here, Vesper Bell at Ueno [Miidera].

 

Very good impression and colour. Minor trimming (usual, as they were printed two-to-a-sheet), otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Kogo no Tsubone (1157 – ?) on a balcony after being banished from court. A chu-tanzaku set of eight prints: Kenjo hakkei, “Eight Views of Accomplished Women.” The set published by Ibaya Sensaburo, c 1843-5. Based on the famous Chinese Eight Views, Japanese artists designed many sets taking the Eight Views of Omi as their starting point. Here, Autumn Moon over Saga Moor [Ishiyama].

 

Very good impression and colour. Minor trimming (usual, as they were printed two-to-a-sheet), otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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The faithful wife of Mama walking on a hillside with falling maple leaves. A chu-tanzaku set of eight prints: Kenjo hakkei, “Eight Views of Accomplished Women.” The set published by Ibaya Sensaburo, c 1843-5. Based on the famous Chinese Eight Views, Japanese artists designed many sets using the Eight Views of Omi as their starting point. Here, Clearing Weather at Mama [Awazu].

 

Very good impression and colour. Minor trimming (usual, as they were printed two-to-a-sheet), otherwise very good condition. Signed Cho-o-ro Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Attributed to KATSUNO (Fl. c 1807)




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A hosoban kappazuri (stencil) print of the beauty Kuruharu (or Yukiharu) of the Naraya brothel/tea house holding a teacup. Published by Kashiwaya Soshichi, a Kyoto publisher in c 1807. He is known to have produced prints for Nagahide as well. The artist Katsuno is only known by a few stencil prints around this date; some, as here, unsigned, and it may well be the only impression extant.

 

Good impression (they are never fine), very good colour and condition. Unsigned.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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A triptych showing a party of women and a child running in rain towards the entrance of the Mimeguri Shrine. Mimeguri no yudachi, “An Evening Shower at Mimeguri.” This famous shrine was on the bank of the Sumida at Mukojima and a short ferry ride from Asakusa. The shrine is also associated with prayers for rain. Kunisada was the most prolific 19th century artist, but amongst his vast output are real masterpieces. Published c 1830. A fine design.


Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Kochoro Kunisada ga.


Status: Sold

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Kochoro KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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Shows a trainee courtesan applying rouge to her eyes. Odori shisho, “The Dancing Girl” from a set Tosei bijin awase, “A Collection of Modern Beauties.” The set published by Moritaya Hanzo, c. 1826. Above, in the fan-shaped label are the accoutrements of her trade: a wig stand, a pair of clappers to keep time, and the libretto of a song.

 

Fine impression. Very good colour and condition. Signed Kochoro Kunisada ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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