Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858) and Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)



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A triptych showing Mitsuuji, the romantic hero of the Inaka Genji (“A Rustic Genji”) accompanied by a beauty looking out across a snow-covered garden where a group of girls are building a giant snow rabbit. Hiroshige and Kunisada collaborated on a number of these Genji triptychs in the 1850s and this is one of the most charming. Published by Moriya Jihei of Kinshodo, 12/1854 (and therefore probably in anticipation of the following year, which was a Year of the Rabbit).

 

Very good impression, colour and condition. Signed Toyokuni ga and Yuki no kei oju, “Snow landscape by request” Hiroshige hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)



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

 

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

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)



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Kan Zhang Liang (below) and Huang Shigong from the set Kan-So gundan, “Battle Tales of the Han and Chu.” The success of the Chinese warrior tales retold by Takizawa Bakin (1767-1848) in his novel “The Water Margin: New Illustrated Edition” published in 1805 resulted in the commissioning of Kuniyoshi to produce his famous series based on the heroes of the “Water Margin” in the late 1820s. Likewise for this set by Kunisada from around the same date. The story relates how Zhang Liang was walking near the Yishui Bridge one day when he met an old man who threw his shoe from the bridge and ordered Zhang Liang to return it and place it on his foot. Without thanking him the old man walked off but with the instruction to meet him five days later. Zhang Liang duly returned at dawn five days later to find the old man already there. Annoyed, the old man reiterates his command but with the same result. The third time Zhang Liang arrives at midnight so impressing the old man with his punctuality, fortitude and humility that he presents him with a book the knowledge from which will bring peace and prosperity to the empire during troubled times. He also tells him to meet again in thirteen years when he will be the yellow rock at the foot of Mount Gucheng. The old man was Huang Shigong. Zhang Liang visits after thirteen years, finds the rock, builds a shrine and is buried with it. Kunisada’s design shows the moment that the shoe is presented back to Huang Shigong. Published by Eijudo c 1827 (although this impression does not have publisher’s mark). The set was reissued by Joshuya Juzo.

 

Very fine impression. Fine colour and condition. Signed Oju Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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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.

 

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)



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Shows Musashibo Benkei carrying the stolen giant Mii Temple bell up Mount Hiei to the Enryaku-ji, the Tendai-sect temple of the San-mon, “Mountain Order.” He is usually depicted dragging the half-ton bell, but here he is shown carrying it with the help of his kanabo, iron war club. Published by Daikokuya, c 1830-39. Another impression is in the British Museum, 1906,1220,0,1054. Rare.

 

Very good impression, colour and condition. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 




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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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Matsumoto Koshiro V as the evil retainer Nikki Danjo who plots to overthrow his lord in the play Meiboku sendai hagi, “Precious Incense and the Bush Clover of Sendai.” From the last great actor set which was planned as a monument to his career and only used the most expensive materials. An untitled set with seventy-two prints completed on his death. ( One hundred and fifty were intended and some are in fact by Yoshitora. ) This is one of the best designs from the set showing a fine profile of an actor who was nicknamed Hanataka Koshiro, “Big-nosed Koshiro.” He made this role very much his own and to this day many actors still wear a mole on their foreheads in his honour. Published 1863 by Kinshodo.


Very fine impression. Fine colour with extensive burnishing to the hair. On thick hosho and with the extra large margins of the first issues before being bound into albums. Slight soil at edge of margins, top and bottom, otherwise very good condition. Signed Nanajuhassai ( “At the age of seventy-eight” ) Toyokuni ga.



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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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An untrimmed aiban fan print showing the actor Nakamura Shikan II on an outing to view the summer fireflies. Ukiyo hotarugari, “Firefly Viewing in the Floating World.” Published by Ibaya Kyubei, 1831.

 

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

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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An original woodblock for printing the centre sheet of a triptych showing Ame no Tajikarao pulling the giant stone away from the Ama-no-Iwato cave where Amaterasu (the Sun Goddess) had ensconced herself thereby depriving the world of light. The block cut by the publisher Moriya Jihei, 6/1857. The block in very good condition. On the reverse side is the yellow block. Sold with a modern pull from the block. Signed Toyokuni ga.


 

Status: Sold

 




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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)



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A dai-oban print showing the actor Kawarazaki Gonjuro I (Ichikawa Danjuro IX) in the role of Hanakawado no Sukeroku, an otokodate (chivalrous commoner) in the play Sukeroku yukari no Edo zakura, “Sukeroku, the Flower of Edo.” This play was performed at the Ichimura Theatre, Edo in 3/1862 and this print was published by Ebisuya Shoshichi the previous month to advertise the play. The storyline is based after the exploits of Soga no Goro and was one of the Kabuki juhachiban compiled by Ichikawa Danjuro VII for the family repertoire.

 

Fine impression with burnishing on the costume. Fine colour. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition. Untrimmed. Signed Ki-o Toyokuni ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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An okubi-e showing the actor Arashi Hinasuke I as Fujiwara no Shihei. This was the Minister of the Left, the antagonist, in Sugawara denju tenarai kagami, “Sugawara’s Secrets of Calligraphy.” The set of “surimono-style” prints were published by Ebisuya Shoshichi between 1860 and 1869, the last 12 being by Yoshitora, and only 60 being completed by Kunisada before he died. The set is technically of the highest order and a fitting tribute to his life.

 

 

Fine impression with extensive burnishing. Very good colour and condition. Signed Nanajuhassai Toyokuni ga, “At the age of seventy-eight.”

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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A vertical diptych showing the actor Onoe Baiko III in the role of the vengeful and disfigured spirit of Kasane above Sawamura Tossho I as her husband Kinoshitagawa Yoemon. From the play Kuruwa kruwa date no ooyose performed at the Ichimura-za theatre 1836. Published by Kawaguchiya Chozo, 1836. Extremely rare.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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The actor Danjuro VIII as the ghost of Seigen from a set of prints Mitate sanjurokkasen no uchi, “An Imaginary Thirty-six Poets” published by Iseya Kanekichi in 1852. The relevant poet in this case is Ariwara no Narihira. The corrupt priest Seigen broke his vows of chastity when he fell in love with Sakurahime. Danjuro played this role in the play Yami no ume yume no tamakura, in the New Year’s programme at the Kawarazaki theatre, Edo, in 1/1853.

 

 

Very fine early impression with glue applied to the eyes. Fine colour and condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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The actor Ichikawa Kodanji IV in the role of the vengeful and disfigured spirit of Kasane (Kasane no Bokon) from a set of prints Mitate sanjurokkasen no uchi, “An Imaginary Thirty-six Poets” published by Iseya Kanekichi in 1852. The relevant poet in this case is Fujiwara Toshiyuki no Ason.

 

 

Very fine early impression with glue applied to the eyes. Fine colour and condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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The actor Ichikawa Danjuro VII in the drama Shibaraku. He is seen in his voluminous robe with the large Sansho (three square) motif which was the symbol of the Danjuro acting clan. The origins of the drama go back to Danjuro I in 1697 although there have been changes over the centuries. It is not a play as such but a scene which lasts about 50 minutes and is inserted during interludes. Evidently Shibaraku, which translates as “Wait a minute” or “Stop a moment,” was first dramatically shouted by Danjuri I when his fellow thespians forgot or refused his cue to enter and take to the hanamichi, “flower path” set at right angles to the stage. It became so popular that it was included in the kaomise, “face-showing” performances every year. Published by Kawaguchiya Shozo, c. 1830.

 

 

Very good impression, colour and condition. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)





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A rare 6-sheet design: Odori keiyo gakuya no zu, Odori keiyo nikai-iri no zu, “View of the Backstage and Dressing Rooms, Backstage at a Newly Opened Theatre.” The 1855 earthquake and resulting fire destroyed the Edo theatre district. Only five months later the first theatre – the Ichimura Theatre – was reopened. This print, issued the previous month, was an advertisement for the opening. A number of actors are recognisable by their mons. Published by Izumiya Ichibei, 1856, 2nd month.

 

Very good impression and colour. Some trimming, otherwise very good condition. This design is invariably trimmed as the designs that have survived are from albums where the top triptych had to fold down into the album. Signed Toyokuni ga.


 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)



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The actor Sawamura Tossho II as Sasaki Gennosuke from the play Hana ayame katami ezoshi. From the last great actor set which was planned as a monument to his career and used only the most expensive materials. An untitled set (but known as Konjaku kabuki meiyo, “Actors Portraits Past and Present.”) Seventy-two prints were completed from an intended one hundred and fifty, with twelve of them being by Yoshitora. Published by Ebisuya Shoshichi (Kinshodo) between 1860 and 1869 (this being 1863).

 

Very fine impression on thick hosho. Very fine colour with burnishing and blind-printing. Fine condition. Signed Nanajuhassai Toyokuni hitsu, “By the ninety year old Toyokuni.”

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)



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A bust portrait of the actor Bando Hikosaburo V as Samezaya Shiroza compared to Lin Chong (from the famed Chinese novel Shui Hu Zhuan, “Outlaws of the Marsh”) retold by Takizawa Bakin (1767-1848) in his novel “The Water Margin: New Illustrated Edition” published in 1805. There are three groups of three prints with background motifs of Pine, Bamboo (as here) and Plum, being the symbols of longevity. He is shown with a heavily tattooed arm of plum blossom and his coat is decorated with a design of a large eagle enveloping his shoulders. Published by Hayashiya Shogoro, 1859.

 

Very fine impression. Fine colour and condition. Signed Ni Konomi Toyokuni ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)



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The actor Ichikawa Danjuro VII as the half-Chinese, half-Japanese hero Watonai in a production of the play Kokusen’ya kassen staged at the Nakamura-za Theatre, 8/1816. Shows a popular scene from the play where Watonai overcomes a man-eating tiger in China by using a charm from the Ise Shrine. He holds a post with the characters reading Daijinga, “Grand Shrine” used in the inner and outer shrines at Ise. Published by Nishimuraya Yohachi 1816. Extremely early and rare.

 

Fine impression and colour. Trimmed at left, otherwise very good condition. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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A preparatory drawing sold together with the published print showing the actor Sawamura Sojuro III as Oboshi Yuranosuke from the play Kanadehon Chushingura. [Yakusha mitate] Tokaido gojusan tsugi no uchi: Nihonbashi Shinagawa no aide, Takanawa, Yuranosuke, “Actors at the Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido: Takanawa between Nihonbashi and Shinagawa, Yuranosuke.” The drawing is from a group of 43 that were sold by a Milanese gallery in 1981. The set was published by Takadaya Takezo in 1852. Seal bottom right of the collector Kaoen. Three other drawings from this group are illustrated in Kunisada, Robert Schaap, Hotei Publishing, 2016, nos 103-105.

 

The drawing is laid down (as all were), sumi with light red and blue to the face. There are numerous annotations indicating the colours to be used. There are some differences between the drawing and the published print, mainly in the background landscape. The print is in good condition. The drawing is signed Toyokuni ga.


 

Status: Sold

 




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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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A fine original shunga drawing showing a couple copulating. Probably a preliminary design for an obon illustrated book. Sumi on thin Japanese paper, 7.5 x 10.5 in, 19 x 26.5 cms. A nice example unlike the many poor unattributed examples available.


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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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An original Kunisada shunga drawing showing a couple having sexual congress. Most likely a preliminary design for a koban print. Sumi on thin Japanese paper lightly attached at edges to an album leaf, 5.25 x 7.25 in, 13.5 x 18.5 cms. Probably intended to be printed four-to-a-sheet. A very good quality drawing, unlike the many poor unattributed examples available.


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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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An original Kunisada shunga drawing showing an old man ravishing a young woman. Most likely a preliminary design for a koban print. Sumi on thin Japanese paper lightly attached at edges to an album leaf, 5.25 x 7.25 in, 13.5 x 18.5 cms. Probably intended to be printed four-to-a-sheet. A very good quality drawing, unlike the many poor unattributed examples available.



Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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An original Kunisada shunga drawing showing an old man ravishing a young woman. Most likely a preliminary design for a koban print. Sumi on thin Japanese paper lightly attached at edges to an album leaf, 5.25 x 7.25 in, 13.5 x 18.5 cms. Probably intended to be printed four-to-a-sheet A very good quality drawing, unlike the many poor unattributed examples available.


Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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An original Kunisada shunga drawing showing an old man ravishing a young woman. Most likely a preliminary design for a koban print. Sumi on thin Japanese paper lightly attached at edges to an album leaf, 5.25 x 7.25 in, 13.5 x 18.5 cms. Probably intended to be printed four-to-a-sheet. A very good quality drawing, unlike the many poor unattributed examples available.


Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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An original preliminary oban sumi drawing for an unpublished set. Shows a young woman teaching a child to play the shamisen and how to use the plectrum (bachi). With intended series title: Osana musume keiko awase, “Teaching the Arts to a Young Girl.” And sub-title: Imouto e oshieru no zu, “Picture of Teaching a Younger Sister.” A particularly interesting drawing as it shows the spontaneity of the initial concept. Kunisada may have made a further more detailed sketch but a final very detailed drawing was needed for the block-cutter to follow accurately and this would have been given to a pupil to undertake. For obvious reasons, these drawings did not survive.

 

 

In very good condition.

 

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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An uncut fan print with title: Furyu yami no kaori, “A Refined Date in the Dark.” Shows a beauty holding a pipe and contemplating a dusky garden and her hidden lover. From a set published by Kojimaya Jubei, with date seal 3/1852.


Fine impression and colour. Small paper fibre on woman’s cheek, otherwise fine condition. Signed Konomi ni ujite ( “With my taste” ) Toyokuni ga.


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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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An apparently unrecorded horizontal diptych, each panel measuring 6.5 x 15 in; 16.5 x 38 cms. Two groups meet in a snowy landscape and the children, boys on left and girls on right, start a snowball battle. An early surimono-style design, published c 1826-7. Publisher unread ( Kagaya Kichibei ? ) A beautiful rarity.


Fine impression. Extremely good colour. Slight vertical folds, otherwise very good condition. Untrimmed, with ample space for joining. Signed Kunisada ga.


Status: Sold




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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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An extremely rare surimono: I have only seen one other impression and that was one I purchased around 20 years ago. Shows the most famous playwright of his age – Tsuruya Nanboku IV ( 1755 – 1829 ). His crest is clearly visible on his shoulders. He died on the 27th of the 11th month, 1829 and this surimono dates from shortly after that. This appears to be a sort of shini-e – very unusual in surimono form. He wrote the most famous Kabuki ghost story: Yotsuya kaidan, “Yotsuya Ghost Story” ( 1825 ) as well as the quick-change play Osome no nanayuki ( 1813 ).


Very good impression. Some creasing along laid lines and small restoration at top edge. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.


Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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A nagaban ( 20 x 9 in; 51 x 23 cms ) print showing a rear view of General Bacho ( Chinese Ma Chao ) on horseback carrying a huge axe. One of the Five Tiger Generals, heroes of the Chinese Ming Dynasty “Romance of the Three Kingdoms.” A set of five prints with title Goku saishiki go hon nobori no uchi, “Five Brightly Coloured Banners.” Published by Moriya Jihei, c 1835-7 and complements another nagaban set of the same date but showing female warriors. Extremely rare, partly due to their size.


Fine impression and colour. Minor soil towards bottom and almost undiscernable centre fold. Signed Kochoro Kunisada ga.


Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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The best design from Rien kyokaku-den, ” The Story of a Chivalrous Man in the Theatrical World.” Shows the actor Kawarazaki Gonjuro as Danshichi, a fishmonger and otokodate ( “chivalrous commoner” ) in the play Natsu matsuri Naniwa kagami. “Summer Festival: Mirror of Osaka.” He is shown washing off the mud from his heavily tattooed body after killing Giheiji. Published 1863 by Hiranoya Shinzo.


Superb impression of the first de-luxe edition with every embellishment: mica, embossing and the finest pigments. Fine colour. Very slight trimming and light album backing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Nanajuhachi sai ( “78 year old” ) Toyokuni hitsu.



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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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Arashi Kichisaburo III as the bandit Akatsuki Hoshigoro, the son of of Nitta Yoshisada. Originally performed as Yotuya kaidan Chushingura. One of the best designs from Toyokuni kigo kijutsu kurabe, “A Contest of Magic Scenes by Toyokuni.” A night scene showing the bandit seated on the back of a giant bat, a large spider’s web above and holding a lantern in his right hand. Published by Hirayano Shinzo, 1863.


Superb impression, colour and condition. The deluxe first edition on thick hosho and every refinement of printing using the finest pigments, burnishing, mica and gofun. Signed The 78 year old Toyokuni hitsu.



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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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The best design from Toyokuni kigo kijutsu kurabe, “A Contest of Magic Scenes by Toyokuni.” Shows the actor Ichikawa Kodanji IV as Mo’un Kokushi. The story is based on the Takizawa Bakin and Hokusai Chinsetsu yumiharizuki. The magician is seated on a rocky promontory with exploding rocks emanating from behind his head. A stunning design. Published by Hirayano Shinzo, 1863.


Superb impression, colour and condition. The deluxe first edition on thick hosho and every refinement of printing using the finest pigments, burnishing, mica and gofun. Extra paper at left and top. Signed The 79 year old Toyokuni hitsu.



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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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The actor Bando Mitsugoro III as Washi no Osaburo disguised as Yamagatsu Kumao in Kawaranu hana Genji no kaomise performed at the Ichikawa Theatre in 11/1827. The left sheet of a surimono triptych probably issued for the new year of 1828. The complete set is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London ( E.3909-1916 ). A variant of the Kabujki play Seki no to in which two actors battle with giant axes.


Fine impression with gold and silver. Slight fading, otherwise very good condition. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.



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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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An original painting on grey silk of an actor in a female role ( Segawa Kikunojo III ? ). Executed in fine detail – almost as a surimono with gold, silver and heightened gofun. Probably one of a set tipped into an album and commissioned by a wealthy patron of his favourite actors. Pin-ups of their day. 8.5 x 7 inches, 22 x 18 cms. Minor damage. Signed Ichiyosai Toyokuni hitsu, c. 1852.



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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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An aizuri-e ( with red lightning ) fan print showing the actor Bando Mitsugoro IV as Kan Shojo in the play Sugawara denju tenarai kagami, “Sugawara’s Secrets of Calligraphy” performed at the Nakamura Theatre, 5/1832. This is the Mt Tempai scene where Kan Shojo, in a rage, transforms himself into a demon surrounded by a thunderbolt. A famous scene, indeed the play was repeated at another theatre just four months later. Published by Ibaya Sensaburo, 1832. Rare: Most probably the only impression extant of this fine design.


Fine impression. Minimal soil and trimmed to fan shape. Signed Kunisada ga.


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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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Bust portraits of girls from a set of fan prints with title “A Parody of Six Elegant Selections”, comparing these beauties to inset view of blooms.


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



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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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Bust portraits of girls from a set of fan prints with title “A Parody of Six Elegant Selections”, comparing these beauties to inset view of blooms.


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



Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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Bust portraits of girls from a set of fan prints with title “A Parody of Six Elegant Selections”, comparing these beauties to inset view of blooms.


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



Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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Bust portraits of girls from a set of fan prints with title “A Parody of Six Elegant Selections”, comparing these beauties to inset view of blooms.


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



Status: Sold

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