Mori SOSEN (1747-1821)




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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

 

 




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Toba HIROMARU (Active 1804-1818)




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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

 

 




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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 KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A snow scene showing Nichiren struggling up a snow-covered mountain near Tsukahara on the Island of Sado. The best design from Koso goichidai ryakuza, the “Illustrated Abridged Biography of the Founder.” Nichiren being 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. Like many great landscapes, there exist different states which causes confusion over which is the earliest. The version offered here has the mountain printed in brown. Other impressions keep the mountain white. The other basic difference is that the design is known with and without a horizon line and that there is at least one impression where the un-inked, blind-printed line can be seen in a raked light. It has been asserted that those impressions without are the earliest; however, it seems from this that the sumi block was probably cut initially with the line but the publishers thought that it looked aesthetically better without printing it, and it was subsequently removed. In any case, this is a rare print and most surviving examples appear to be similar in impression. There is a break in the border to the left of the bottom of Kuniyoshi’s signature which could give a guide to the earliest states, but as this is often painted in, it is not reliable. The composition is based on a design in the illustrated book Bumpo sansui gafu by Kawamura Bumpo, published posthumously in 1824.

 

 

Very good impression, colour and condition with splashed gofun. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi hitsu.

 

 

Status: Available

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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.

 

 

Status: Available

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Utagawa TOYOHIRO (1773-1828)




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An oban print with title: Ryukyujin no zu, “Pictures of People from Ryukyu.” (A chain of Japanese islands stretching southwest from Kyushu to Taiwan.) The Ryukyuans had a specific culture, one element of which was to select young boys (gakudoji) from the upper classes of the capital to be apprenticed to perform as women in dances during the processionals to Edo. These processions of feudal lords, often with elaborate retinues, were required by the Shogun and were a way of keeping the lords submissive and cash-strapped as the journeys were extremely expensive. The gakudoji are usually shown riding a white horse with an attendant holding a large umbrella (a colourful parasol in this case). Another (heavily trimmed) design from this set is in the Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan. Toyohiro seems to have had a particular interest in these boys as he designed a number of other prints on this subject. Of the utmost rarity: I have not seen another print from this set in 50 years of dealing. Published by Shimizu, c. 1804.

 

 

Fine impression and colour with strong yellow ground. Possibly slightly trimmed (?), otherwise very good condition. Signed Toyohiro ga.

 

 

Status: Available

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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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

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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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Status: Available

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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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

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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A diptych showing the Buddhist priest Dainin about to kill the girl Umegae. Daininbo Umegae o satsugai no zu, “Picture of the Priest Dainin Killing the Girl Umegae.” From a set of prints Shinsen azuma nishiki-e, “New Selection of Eastern Brocade Pictures.” The priest momentarily looks up at a passing cuckoo. The set published by Tsunashima Kamekichi between 1885 and 1889, this being 1886.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Available

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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A diptych showing Musashi-bo Benkei, renowned for his herculean strength, battling with the young Onzoshi Ushiwaka Maru (Yoshitsune) on Gojo Bridge. The story relates how Benkei (1155-1189) wandered around Kyoto with the intention of relieving 1000 samurai of their swords. One night with one more sword to go he saw Yoshitsune playing a flute and wearing a golden sword at the Gojotenjin Shrine. They agreed to fight on Gojo Bridge in southern Kyoto. However, Yoshitsune was too agile for Benkei and had been educated in the secrets of fighting by the mountain tengu. Following Yoshitsune’s victory Benkei became Yoshitsune’s retainer. Published by Hei, c. early 1830s. (This publisher produced many of Kunisada’s prints in the early 1830s.) Very rare.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Available

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Toyohara CHIKANOBU (1838-1912)




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A triptych Ryogoku hanabi zu, “Fireworks at Ryogoku.” Chikanobu designed a number of triptychs on this subject and boating on the Sumida River, but this is the best and rarest. The government in 1733 had a display of fireworks over the bridge called the Ryogoku kawabiraki hanabi, “Ryogoku River-opening Fireworks” as part of a memorial service for the victims of starvation due to crop failures and an epidemic of cholera. This became an annual event.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Minor marks, otherwise very good condition. Signed Toyohara Chikanobu.

 

 

Status: Available

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ANONYMOUS (Late 18th century)




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An Uki-e, “floating picture” painting showing an interior with a puppet performance taking place. A puppeteer manipulates a female puppet in the centre, behind him two gidayu narrators and a shamisen player. A male puppet is being held behind a screen. Ladies behind a screen at right enjoy the drama. In fact, a male individual at the back seems overcome by emotion with a hanky to his face. The architecture is represented using one-point perspective, a style which made its way to Japan in the 1740’s from the West via China. (Interestingly the artist has got the perspective wrong on the screen at right.) This genre of painting – invariably unsigned – always shows interior or semi-interior views with banquets or, as here, puppet performances. Full colour on paper, 17 x 23 in; 43.2 x 58.5 cms. Minor marks, although good condition for this kind of painting.

 

Status:  
Available

 




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Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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An uncut fan print with title Shinkiro no zu which has a double meaning of being the Yoshiwara in the deep sea and also a chimera or mirage. The scene enclosed in a (dreaming ?) bivalve shows visitors in a watery Yoshiwara, all with fish heads. Of the utmost rarity: This appears to be the only impression known. There are also what appear to be keying marks on three sides that have not been removed. Published by Shinagawaya Kyusuke with censor seal for 1845.

 

Very fine impression. Fine colour and condition. Signed Hiroshige giga hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Ichiyusai HIROSHIGE II (1826-1869)




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Suo Iwakuni Kintaibashi, “The Bridge of the Brocade Sash at Iwakuni in Suo Province.” From an uncompleted set: Shokoku meisho hyakkei, “One Hundred Views of the Provinces.” Published by Uoei between 1859 – 1861 (this being 1859). Shows the beautiful five-arch bridge spanning the Nishiki-gawa under heavy snow. The village of Nishikimi in the foreground. The bridge was built in 1673 using massive stone pilings because earlier bridges had been swept away. It was destroyed in 1950 due to a typhoon but rebuilt in 1953. The best print from the set and probably Hiroshige IIs finest design.

 

 

Fine impression of the first edition with mica applied. Fine colour. Minor edge discolouration, otherwise very good condition. Later editions lack the variegated cartouche and the colour-banded publisher’s seal in left margin. Signed Hiroshige ga.

Status: Sold

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Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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An extremely rare chu-tanzaku, Fuyu Sumidagawa no yuki, “Winter Snow on the Sumida River.” From a set Shiki Edo meisho, “Famous Places in Edo in the Four Seasons.” A lone figure in straw cape and large hat poles a log raft down the Sumida river in heavy snow. Published by Kawasho c. 1834. There are a number of states of this design known: As here (probably the earliest) with publisher’s seal and kiwame seal; with kiwame only; and without either. There are also extremely deceiving copies of this print. Provenance: Ex Le Veel collection, sold by Ader Picard Tajan, Paris, 2nd sale, 24/10/1980, lot 114, p. 50.

 

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

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A triptych showing the ghosts of the Taira (Heike) warriors attempting to sink Yoshitsune’s ship off the coast of Settsu on his way to Shikoku. This is one of Kuniyoshi’s great designs – amongst the three or four best triptychs and is illustrated in numerous publications. The scene is the outcome of a great battle at Dan-no-ura where the Minamoto (Genji) clans clashed and defeated the Taira clans a few years earlier. The spirits of the drowned warriors rose up to seek revenge only to be pacified by Benkei reciting exorcisms with his rosary. Published 1849-52 by Enshuya Hikobei. Robinson T242. Rare.


Very good impression and colour although slightly mismatched blue on the first and second sheets. Very good condition. Full size. There appear to be three states of this design: The main difference being in the shape of the ghosts and lines in the waves only on the first state. In this (the second state) the ghosts lack some of the features that are on the first and a large spirit appears above the wave over the ship on the centre panel. The third state has further differences in the ghosts and lacks this figure. Also, the colour of the boat gets greyer. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


Status: Sold

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Katsukawa SHUN’EI




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An hosoban showing Iwai Hanshiro IV in a “Shibaraku” role, probably as Akita Jonosuke Yoshikage from the play Mieiko nori no hachi no ki performed at the Kawarazaki Theatre in the 11th month, 1791. The highly stylised and dramatic Shibaraku costume gave rise to some of the best ukiyo-e designs. Originally staged by Ichikawa Danjuro I in 1697, it quickly gained popularity and was included in the kaomise celebrations at Edo theatres. Published by Harimaya Shinshichi. Ex Beres collection, sold Paris 2002, lot 39.

 

 

Fine impression, very good colour and condition. Beres seal au verso. Signed Shun’ei ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A complete triptych showing beauties in boats on the Sumida River. Shubi no matsu, “Successful-deal Pine Tree” from a set Edo meisho somoku-zukushi, “Notable Sights Famous for Grass and Trees in Edo.” This famous pine was blown down during the An’ei era (1772-1780); its successor died during the Ansei era (1854-1859); the third died at the end of the Meiji era (c 1910). There is also the Hiroshige view of this subject from the 100 Views of Edo. Published by Ebiya Rinnosuke (Kaijudo), 1845.

 

Very good impression. Fine colour and condition. Full size. Another state has darker water and variegated cartouche. Signed Cho-o-ro Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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One of Hiroshige’s most beautiful triptychs: Sumidagawa setchu no zu,“The Sumida River in Snow” from a series Edo meisho shiki no nagame, “Views of the Famous Places of Edo in the Four Seasons.” Shows a ferry landing on the Sumida with a beauty disembarking from a boat and another pair ready to board. Published by Maruya Jinpachi, c 1847-8. Rare.

 

Very good impression and colour. Horizontal centre fold, otherwise good condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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A lively design showing Ichikawa Danjuro VII in the role of the loyal warrior Arajishi Otokonosuke Terumitsu fighting a giant rat in the cellar beneath the women’s quarters of the Ashikaga Palace. This scene, Yukashita no Ba, is from the play Date kurabe okuni Kabuki performed at the Kawarasaki-za Theatre, 3/1829. Shortly afterwards, the rat escapes down a hole in the hanamichi pathway, only to re-emerge in a cloud of smoke as the arch-villain and master of the black arts, Nikki Danjo. Published by Eikyudo (Yamamoto Kyubei) 1829.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition on an extra large sheet of hosho. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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SESSHUNSAI (Dates unknown but active c 1800)




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An extremely rare early Osaka hosoban showing the actor Asao Tamejuro II (1779-1806) standing before a broken barricade in the role of Yamashiro Kantsubo in the play Meiboku sendai hagi. This artist and print appear to be unrecorded. Published by Houki (Honya Kichisai), c early 1800. A wonderful design. Many thanks to Hendrick Luhl for his help on this print.

 

Very good impression and colour. The fujitive background aobana, dayflower pigment, intact except for one small area affected by moisture visible au verso. Very good condition. Signed Sesshunsai ga with seal unread.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Jokei RYUKOSAI (Fl. c 1772-1816)




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The most important and influential Osaka artist of the late eighteenth century. An innovator whose style may well have influenced such artists as Shunei and Sharaku. His prints – mostly hosoban – are all of the utmost rarity. Indeed, it is thought they originally formed triptychs but, so far, no complete design has been located. The oban design offered here is even rarer, there being only two other impressions known: Illustrated in colour, pl. 13, in Kamigata Ukiyo-e Nihyaku-nen Ten, “200 Years of Kamigata Ukiyo-e,” Susumu Matsudaira, 1975; and pl. 43, p. 56, catalogue of exhibition Ukiyo-e of the Kamigata Area at the Osaka Museum of History and Yamaguchi Prefectural Hagi Uragami Museum, Kitagawa Hiroko, 2014. Shows five actors. From right to left (rear): Nakamura Kyojuro, Arashi Sangoro III, Kataoka Nizaemon VII and (front): Asao Tamejiro I, Ichikawa Danzo IV. Published c 1790 by Ki.

 

Fine impression. Very good colour. Small areas of contemporary hand colouring to face and costume of Tamejiro. Slight folds and small sumi mark bottom left, otherwise very good condition. Probably full size. Signed Ryukosai ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Jokei RYUKOSAI (Fl. c 1772-1816)




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The most important and influential Osaka artist of the late eighteenth century. An innovator whose style may well have influenced such artists as Shunei and Sharaku. His prints – mostly hosoban – are all of the utmost rarity. Indeed, it is thought, as here, that they originally formed triptychs but, so far, no complete design has been located. The unsigned left panel of a triptych published 1/1793 showing Onoe Shinshichi I (Fujaku) as Isshiki Yukinokami in the play Keisai yanagi sakura. The play involves the rescue of the Ashikaga Shogunate through the efforts of Yukinokami in uncovering a usurper’s plot. The hero stands in a snowy garden holding a fragment of a handscroll he has been found reading. Of the utmost rarity: Only a few impressions are known and there are two states: As here without role above and published by Osakaya Sashichi and with the calligraphy and published by Shiocho.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition.

 

Status: Sold

 

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TOGAKUSAI (Active c 1782)




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An extremely rare and early Osaka hosoban (probably unrecorded) showing the actor Kano Hinasuke I (who later became Arashi Koroku III) standing on large geta and holding an umbrella. Published by Shioki-han (Shioya Kisuke), c 1782. The poem above is signed using the actor’s hango Arashi Minshi. Only a few designs are known by this artist. Many thanks to Hendrick Luhl for his help on this print.

 

Very good impression and colour. Some wear and tear which has been skilfully restored. On very thin paper. Signed Togakusai hitsu with seal Sadakuni.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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An exceptionally rare original double-sided woodblock. On one side is the key-block showing Ichikawa Danjuro VII as the strongman, “chikaramochi,” Ura no Kingo. On the other is the key-block showing Iwai Kumesaburo II as the female acrobat, “karuwazashi,” Tamamoto Kosan. The play is Fujikawabune noriai banashi performed at the Nakamura-za Theatre, 5/1826. The block measures 8.5 x 10.75 x .75 in; 21.6 x 27.3 x 2 cms. The two images signed Gototei Kunisada ga. In very good condition but with obvious minor damage. Sold “as is.”


 

Status: Sold

 




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Kubo SHUNMAN (1757-1820)




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A rare surimono showing new year festivities before a large screen depicting Mount Fuji at sunset. A versatile and highly talented artist working in various mediums, Shunman produced (and cut and printed) some of the finest surimono. Published c 1810s. I cannot, at the moment, locate another impression.

Fine impression and colour with extensive gold and silver. Fine condition. Sealed Shunman bottom right.


Fine impression and colour with silver and gold. Light backing, otherwise very good condition. Signed Shokyuko Shuntei ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Totoya HOKKEI (1780-1850)




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An exceptionally rare surimono showing salt gatherers on a beach, their huts behind them and Mount Fuji towering over the horizon. Published c 1820s. I cannot, at the moment, locate another impression.


Fine impression with gold clouds and Fuji heavily blind-printed. Fine colour. Minimal soil, otherwise very good condition. Si8ned Hokkei.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Kitagawa UTAMARO (1753-1806)




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No. 7 from a set of 12 prints: Joshoku kaiko tewazagusa, showing women engaged in the sericulture (silkworm) industry. This was traditionally the domain of women. The colour scheme is red-avoiding (murasaki-e) using predominantly purple. This stage of the process shows the metamorphosis – the winged moth stage – when silkworms are used to lay eggs. This set is taken verbatim from the Shunsho/Shigemasa set of chuban prints, Kaiko yashinai-gusa. (See elsewhere on this site for a Shunsho example.) Published 1798-1800 by Tsuru-ya Kiemon.


Fine impression. Fine colour, perfectly retained. Very good condition; full size. Signed Utamaro hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A beauty in sumptuous clothing from a fine set of seventy numbered prints with title: Sankai medetai zu, “Excellences of Mountain and Sea.” The set compares busts of beautiful women with various products and occupations from the provinces of Japan. This is number 3, Tamba, and shows men fishing at night with the aid of flares. The set published 1852 by Sano-ya Kihei.


Very fine impression and colour with strong burnishing on collar. Fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A beauty reading a program while a cat dozes beside her. From a fine set of seventy numbered prints with title: Sankai medetai zu, “Excellences of Mountain and Sea.” The set compares busts of beautiful women with various products and occupations from the provinces of Japan. This is number 19. Catching octopuses, Takasago in Banshu [Harima] Province. The set published 1852 by Sano-ya Kihei.


Very good impression and colour. The cat’s fur blind-printed. Light album backing, otherwise good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Token Gonbei using a mirror to pluck his forehead (hitai). The style became known as Token hitai. From a set: Kuniyoshi moyo shofuda tsuki genkin otoko, “Men of Ready Money with True Labels Attached, Kuniyoshi Style.” These otokodates (a word that is difficult to translate but was a chivalrous commoner, a fashionable man-about-town, street-wise and ready to assist the oppressed). Gonbei is said to have beaten a barking token (Dutch hunting dog) to death with his bare hands – thus he got his name. Published c 1845 by Iba-ya Kyubei.


Very fine impression. Fine colour. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Sasai Kyuzo Masayasu (Sakai Kyuzo Narashige) enveloped in smoke and disintegrating before a volley of musketry at the battle of the Anegawa (1570). From the set Taiheiki yeiyuden, “Heroic Stories of the Taiheiki. A history of the wars of the loyalist Nitta and Kusunoki families against the Ashikaga war-lords during the second quarter of the fourteenth century. But in fact the subject of this set of fifty prints (this being 12, but not numbered) is the civil war of the late 16th century. Censorship restrictions imposed in the 1840s prevented publishers from illustrating historical subjects from the Tensho era 1573-92 onwards, so the publishers circumvented this by slightly altering the names of the historical figures. Published 1848-9 by Yamamoto-ya Heikichi. Robinson S62.36. The best design from the set.


Fine early impression. Fine colour. Slight nibbling to left edge, otherwise very good condition. Fine impression. Fine colour. Slight trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Katsushika HOKUSAI (1760-1849)




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A poem by Onakatomi no Yoshinobu Ason from Hyakunin isshu uba ga etoki, the “Hundred Poems explained by the Wet Nurse.” Published by Nishimuraya Eijudo and Iseya Eijudo c 1835/6. Although obviously intended to be a set of 100 prints, only 27 are known plus drawings for the others. The poet speaks of his love being like a fire kept by guards at the Imperial Palace: It only burns hot at night. Shows a group of sleepy imperial guards with the fire burning low. The poet and servant are seen on the distant hill.


Very fine early impression. Fine colour and condition. (The small white area without colour top left should appear on every untrimmed genuine impression.) Signed Zen Hokusai manji (the manji seal black).

 

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Katsushika HOKUSAI (1760-1849)




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A poem by Kiyowara no Fukayabu from Hyakunin isshu uba ga etoki, the “Hundred Poems explained by the Wet Nurse.” Published by Nishimuraya Eijudo and Iseya Eijudo c 1835/6. Although obviously intended to be a set of 100 prints, only 27 are known plus drawings for the others. The poet speaks of the shortness of the summer night and asks if the moon is still overhead or hidden by clouds. Shows an evening on the Sumida River with a large pleasure boat accompanied by a smaller craft and a vessel providing food.


Fine early impression. Fine colour. Slight centre fold, otherwise good condition. Signed Zen Hokusai manji (the manji seal black).

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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A surimono showing the kabuki actors, top right: Ichikawa Danjuro VII holding up a war banner decorated with a sasarindo (bamboo grass and gentian), the mon of the Minamoto clan and Iwai Hanshiro V wielding a large knife in an unidentified play. The poem mentions the Iwai and Ichikawa family names. Published c 1827-30.


Fine impression and colour with blind-printing, silver and gold. Signed in gold on the blue ground Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Katsukawa SHUNSHO (1726-1792)




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The actor Nakamura Tomijuro I in an unidentified female role holding a biwa (a lute-like musical instrument) underarm. Surprisingly not listed in The Life And Works Of Katsukawa Shunsho, Frederick William Gookin, which is the most comprehensive overview. Published c 1775/6.

Fine impression and colour. One small repaired wormhole, otherwise exceptional condition. Signed Shunsho ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE II (1826-1869)




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Akasaka kiribatake uchu sekikei, “Evening View of the Paulownia Plantation at Akasaka Under Rain.” This is the replacement design for Hiroshige I’s version Akasaka kiribatake for the Meisho Edo hyakkei, “One Hindred Views of Edo” published by Uoya Eikichi between 1856 and 1858. This design dated 1859. Presumably the blocks were damaged for the first composition. A fine design and superior to Hiroshige I’s.


Fine early impression with mica to sky. There is an extremely rare first edition of this print with an added gradation of yellow to square cartouche and gradation on the yellow fence at left and roofs at right. Otherwise, the impressions are the same. The gradation in the background is particularly fine here. Fine colour. Slight soil to margin, otherwise very good condition. Signed Nisei Hiroshige ga.

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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An important two-fold screen, Yamatotakeruno mikoto at Mount Azuma. Yamatotakeru was the beautiful but fiery tempered third son of the Emperor Keikou (71B.C.-130 A.D.) He also had magical powers given to him by his aunt. His father decided to send him to the Eastern Provinces to subdue the barbarians. On the way aboard a boat, they encountered a violent storm. His wife, Ota-tachibana, threw herself in the sea to appease the Gods and drowned. Yamatotakeru continues his journey and reaches a rocky landscape. He gazes south east and in memory of his wife repeats three times “Azuma haya” (My wife, alas). Thus the mountain and area became known as Azuma. This is the scene Yoshitoshi depicts with Yamatotakeru surrounded by his entourage, gazing ahead, his long hair flowing. (He was able to pass as a woman in disguise, evidently.) Yoshitoshi had a jagged style of drawing and painting and the multitude of craggy outcrops allow him to fully indulge himself.

Full colour on silk, each panel 39.75 x 25 in; 101 x 63.5 cms. Extremely good condition. Signed Kinzaburo Yoshitoshi ga with blurred seal but reading Go Kaisai. Extremely rare.


Status: Sold




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