Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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The stern of a large sailing-junk and a smaller vessel infront. A poem by Sangi Takamura (Ono no Takamura) from Hyaku-nin isshu, “The Hundred Poets” published by Ebine c 1838. Depending which story one reads, either Takamura, who was a customs official for ships trading to and from China, went missing on a mission or was reported for being an extortioner and banished to the Oki Islands. Either way, he was subsequently pardoned. One of the best designs from this fine set. Robinson S19.11 and illustrated in Robinson (1961), no. 59.


Fine impression. Very good colour. Remargined top and bottom, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Daimotsu-no-ura o-kassen. A triptych showing the battle of Dan-no-ura. The clash between the Minamoto (Genji) clans and the Heike (Taira) clans happened in 24/3/1185 when the Taira were defeated by Yoshitsune. He is shown here on the left making his leap pursued by Noritsune. The Imperial barge is in the background. Published by Moriya Jihei, 1856. Robinson T337.


Fine impression and colour. Slight trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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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.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI ( 1797-1861 )




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A complete diptych showing the seven gods of good luck ( Shichi-fuku-ji ). Household divinities who supervised the wordly needs of man ( and woman ). The group are at the entrance of a temple and laugh at Fukurokuju’s ( the god of happiness and longevity ) discomfiture at hitting the large temple lantern with his head. Published 1847-48 by Soshuya Yohei of Nihombashi. Excessively rare: I cannot locate another impression.


Very fine impression and colour. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi giga, “Drawn in fun.”


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI ( 1797-1861 )




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Kwatsuyemra Genshoshichi hiding under a tiger-skin in a boat under a hail of arrows. From Tsuzoku Suikoden goketsu hyaku-hachi-nin no hitori, “The Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Popular Suikoden, One by One.” Published by Kaga-ya Kichiyemon, c 1827-30. Robinson S2.40.


Fine impression and colour. Very good condition: completely untrimmed. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI ( 1797-1861 )




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Saito Toshimoto and a Chinese general struggling underwater. The second best design from Taiheiki yeiyu den, “Heroic Stories of the Taiheiki.” Published by Yamamoto-ya Heikichi, 1848-9. Robinson S62.31.


Extremely fine impression of the earliest printing. ( This is the best example I have seen of this design. ) Fine colour and condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI ( 1797-1861 )




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The last stand of the Kusunoki at Shijonawate, Shijonawate nite Nanke no eiyu taiteki o. Shows the final battle of Shijonawate in 1348 with Kusunoki Masatsura, the son of Kusunoki Masashige, under a deluge of arrows continuing his father’s struggle against the Ashikaga forces. This forms a 6-sheet composition with another triptych and Kuniyoshi also designed another triptych of the same subject. Published 1847. Unidentified publisher.


Very fine impression of the earliest printing. Very fine colour. Fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI ( 1797-1861 )




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The priest Nichiren standing on the rocky promontory at Reizan in Kamakura and having his prayers for rain answered. The event occurred in 1271. His disciples surround him and protect him from the deluge with a large umbrella. Bunei hachi Kamakura Reizan-ga-saki uki. The second best design from Koso [ Nichiren ] goichidai ryakuzu, “Illustrated Abridged Biography of the Founder.” Nichiren ( 1222 – 1282 ) was the founder of the Buddhist Nichiren sect ( Nichiren shu – Kuniyoshi being a follower ) and indeed the set of ten prints may have been commissioned to mark the 550th anniversary of his death. Published by Iseya Rihei c 1831.


Fine impression. Very good colour and condition. This design is notorious for having the umbrella trimmed off and/or the title in right margin. The printer has compensated for this by printing close to the left border. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI ( 1797-1861 )




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A triptych showing the old hag of Hitotsuya in the dilapidated house on Adachi Moor. The morbid story tells of a woman who developed cannibalistic habits for the lord of the district who required the blood of babies or young women. The hag menacies a young girl while Kannon ( to the right ), the goddess of compassion, looks on. In fact these are life-like dolls ( iki-ningyo ). There were popular exhibitions of these dolls during the mid 1850s to the late 1860s. Leading exponents being Yasumoto Kamehachi and Matsumoto Kisaburo. The latter had an exhibition in Asakusa Okuyama in 1855 and this might have been one of the exhibits. Kuniyoshi designed a number of diptychs and triptychs showing various exhibits of these dolls including others on this subject. Published 2/1855 by Yamaguchiya Tobei.


Very good impression, colour and condition. Signed Ichiyusai and Cho-o-ro Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI ( 1797-1861 )




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Kyusempo Sakucho at the battle of Peking from Tsuzoku Suikoden goketsu hyaku-hachi-nin no hitori, “The Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Popular Suikoden, One by One.” Shows the brigand wielding a huge axe and plunging through deep snow on his horse. Published by Kaga-ya Kichiyemon, c 1827-30. Robinson S2.44.


Very good impression and colour. Slight trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI ( 1798-1861 )




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Hidesato ( Fujiwara no ) commonly called Tawara Toda. Having killed the giant centipede for Ryujin, the Dragon King, he is shown accompanied by a host of fishy retainers riding the back of a giant turtle and with the gifts which were his reward: The giant bell ( subsequently given to the monastery of Miidera where it was stolen by Benkei ); a bag of rice which could not be exhausted; a cooking pot which didn’t need fire ( sometimes omitted ), and a roll of silk which could not be shortened by cutting. Above the waves in the distance can be seen the entrance to the Dragon King’s palace. Published 1858 by Maruya Kyoshiro.


Very fine impression showing wood grain. Perfect gradation. Fine colour. Very slight trimming, otherwise fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI ( 1798-1861 )




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Minamoto Tametomo decapitating Yamaotoko – a creature descended from a devil. From a set of ten prints: Tametomo homare no jikketsu, “Ten Famous Glories of Tametomo.” Published by Aritaya Seiemon 1847-50.


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


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1798-1861)




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A complete diptych showing Inuzuka Shino and Inukai Kempachi on the Horyukaku roof from Satomi Hakkenden, the eight heroes of Bakin’s novel Hakkenden. Published by Mikawa-ya Tetsugoro, c 1849-51. See the Kunichika triptych of the same subject on this current selection. Rare complete.


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


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1798-1861)




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An oban diptych showing the two heroes, Inuyama Dosetsu Tadatomo ( seated ) and Inukawa Sosuke Yoshito. Chapter 22 from Bakin’s famous book of the Eight Dog Warriors. From a yellow-ground set: Honcho kendo ryaku den, “Abridged Stories of Our Country’s Swordsmanship.” Published by Kadzusa-ya Iwazo, c 1845-6. Robinson S37.7 & 9. Rare as the design is seldom found complete.


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


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1798-1861)




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An early design of a famous episode depicting Raigo Ajari ( the priest Jitsusobo ) breathing out his curses and tearing up the Buddhist scrolls of Miidera Temple. His curses are directed at the Emperor Shirakawa who had refused the granting of a favour to build a praying platform at his temple in return for Raigo praying successfully for a son for the Emperor. Published by Jo-Yasu, c 1843. Robinson S1f.5. A fine and rare design.


Very good impression and colour. Slight trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1798-1861)




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The super-strong small boy Kintaro ( Kaido-maru ) wielding a giant axe and with his forest companions a bear-cub and a monkey. One of Kuniyoshi’s finest designs from Rokuyosei Kuniyoshi jiman, “Six Conditions of Nature.” This design: Tai-an: A good day for travelling. Published by Uoya Eikichi, year of the monkey, 1860. Robinson S93.3.


Superb impression of the first edition with polishing and gauffrage on the bear-cub. Fine colour. Minimal trimming, otherwise fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1798-1861)




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One of Kuniyoshi’s finest designs from Rokuyosei Kuniyoshi jiman, “Six Conditions of Nature.” This design: Sembu: Not a very lucky day. Shows Mongaku ( Endo Morito, c. 1120 – 1200 ) subjecting himself to three years penance as a Buddhist monk beneath the waterfall of Mount Nachi in Kii Province. Morito inflicted this punishment on himself because he had inadvertently cut off the head of Kesa Gozen, the wife of the palace guard Watanabe Wataru, with whom he was in love. This subject lends itself to some wonderful designs: See this website for a rare horizontal triptych by Yoshitoshi and a vertical triptych by Kuniyoshi, and there are many single sheets by various artists. Published by Uoya Eikichi, year of the monkey, 1860. Robinson S93.4 and illustrated in colour, pl. 29, Kuniyoshi: The Warrior-Prints, Phaidon, 1982. Rare.


Superb impression of the first edition with splashed gofun. Fine colour. Minimal trimming, otherwise fine condition. Signed Cho-o-ro Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1798-1861)




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Tamatori-hime stealing the sacred jewel from the Dragon King’s Palace, Ryugu Tamatori-hime no zu. Published by Yamaguchiya Tobei, Ox 6, 1853. The ama is shown being pursued by the Dragon King and his various fishy retainers. This was a favourite subject of Kuniyoshi’s and he designed a number of triptychs and single sheets. A wonderful and rare design.


Fine impression and colour. Extensive splashed gofun. Trimmed round, otherwise very good condition. Signed Chooro Kuniyoshi ga and Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1798-1861)




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Saginoike Heikuro from Honcho Suikoden goyu happyaku-nin no hitori, “Eight Hundred Heroes of our Country’s Suikoden, One by One.” Shows the brigand wrestling with a huge serpent at the Lake of Sayama ( or Hazama ) at Tondabayashi in the Province of Kawachi. Published by Ibaya Sensaburo, c 1845. Robinson S4b.4. Fine design.


Very good impression and colour. Full size. Slightly soiled bottom left, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1798-1861)




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Tenjiku Tokubei ( 1619-1686 ) from an untitled series of warrior prints published by Kawaguchi Uhei, 1826-27. Tokubei was celebrated for his travels to India, Macao and Siam, and subsequently wrote about his exploits. He is usually represented surrounded by frogs and making magic with his fingers ( as here – Gama Yojutsu ) which enabled him to change into a frog. He is shown astride an enormous frog in a thunderstorm. Fine design.


Very good impression and colour. Slightly trimmed at bottom, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A diptych showing the actors Bando Shuka (left) as O-kaji, wife of Danshichi, with sword drawn attacking Seki Sanjuro III as the old hag, wife of Giheiji of Mikawa-cho in pouring rain. From the play Shinzo Tsurifune kidan performed at the Ichimura theatre, 5/1852. Published by Kakumotoya Kinjiro. Kuniyoshi designed another version of this play in the same year for another publisher.

 

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

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1798-1861)




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Ogata Shuma Hiroyuki ( later Jiraiya ) from Honcho Suikoden goyu happyaku-nin no hitori, “Eight Hundred Heroes of our Country’s Suikoden, One by One.” Shows the brigand with a heavy o-zutsu, hand cannon, bearing down on an enormous snake which had been preying on his friends the toads. Published c 1830 by Kaga-ya Kichiyemon. Robinson S4.12. Fine design.


Very good impression and colour. Slightly trimmed right and bottom, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Three New Year drummers; two with lion (shishi) masks. Sumi and colour on paper, lightly laid onto card. 24.2 x 36.2 cms; 9.5 x 14.25 inches.


In good condition. Unsigned but from a group, one of which bore full signature.



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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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An original sumi drawing showing the two gods of good luck, Ebisu and Daikoku, fishing from a boat. A variety of sea creatures can be seen in the water. Ebisu’s fishing line has caught an octopus which has landed on Daikoku’s head. 12 x 9.25 in; 30.5 x 23.5 cms. Laid onto Japanese paper. Sold “as is” with imperfections.

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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An original drawing in sumi with light red under-drawing, 9.75 x 6.75 in; 24.7 x 17.2 cms, on thin paper laid onto card. Shows a general looking down on a castle. Slight foxing. Sold “as is.” Ex Tikotin collection, seal bottom right.

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1798-1861)




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The ronin Yada Gorosaemon Suketake. A snow scene showing him facing an adversary with sword raised. From a fine set of twelve half length portraits of the forty-seven ronin: Seicho gishi shozo, “Portraits of Faithful Samurai of True Loyalty.” The depictions borrow strongly from western portraiture including imitation western script in the green border of the title cartouche. It is not necessary to repeat the story here as it is the best known Japanese tale. Published by Sumiyoshiya Masagoro, 12/1852.


Fine impression. Fine colour. Full size with extra paper left and top. Slight soil left margin, otherwise fine condition. Extensive splashed gofun to imitate snow. The printing on this set is exceptional with details such as the sword blades and title cartouches burnished. Signed Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1798-1861)




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A Chinese brigand ( Shinwa-Yi ? ) hanging onto a rock in a fast-flowing river. Above and below him other submerged protagonists. From an early set: Tsuzoku sangokushi yeiyu no ichi-ni, “Popular Heroes of the History of the Three Kingdoms.” Published c. 1837 by Joshuya Kinzo. Extremely rare: Not known to Robinson ( S.10 ) who only lists 8 prints ( including a key-block proof ) from this set. Possibly unrecorded.


Very fine impression, colour and condition ( proof state ). Full size with extra paper all round. Signed Cho-o-ro Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1798-1861)




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Morozumi Masakiyo, Lord of Bungo, and retainer of the Takeda being blown up by a cannonball or landmine whilst committing suicide with his sword. The best design from a set Koetsu yusho den, “Biographies of Brave Generals from the Provinces of Kai and Echigo.” The series shows heroic acts during battles that took place between the troops of Takeda Shungen of Kai Province and Kenshin Tora of Echigo Province during 1553-1564 at Kawanakajima. Published by Sumiyoshiya Masagoro, c 1849. Illustrated in colour, Robinson, Kuniyoshi The Warrior-Prints, Phaidon, 1982, pl. 20, S63.9 and elsewhere. One of Kuniyoshi’s finest oban designs.


Very good impression. Some oxidation, otherwise very good colour and condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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The ronin Nakamura Kansuke Masatatsu dodging a brazier of hot ash. The best design from a fine set of twelve half length portraits of the forty-seven ronin: Seicho gishi shozo, “Portraits of Faithful Samurai of True Loyalty.” The depictions borrow strongly from western portraiture including imitation western script in the green border of the title cartouche. It is not necessary to repeat the story here as it is the best known Japanese tale. Published by Sumiyoshiya Masagoro, 12/1852.


Fine impression, colour and condition. Full size and the falling ash from the brazier represented by sprayed gofun ( slight loss ). The printing on this set is exceptional with details such as the sword blades and title cartouches burnished. Signed Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A triptych showing Koman, the widowed daughter of a Lake Biwa farmer, swimming with the white banner of the Genji in her teeth towards the Taira barge of Munemori. On being picked up and finding where she was she jumped overboard but not before Sanemori cut her arm off with the banner wrapped round it. For the full story see Pointers And Clues To The Subjects Of Chinese And Japanese Art, Sampson Low Marstone & Co. Ltd., Will Edmunds, 1934, p. 451. Published By Iseya Ichibei, 1846.


Very fine impression, colour and condition. Full size. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A triptych showing Raiko attacking the Shuten-doji. A well know myth covered by numerous artists of all periods. Shuten-doji, “Great Drunken Boy” had great strength and atrocious habits, plundering the countryside around his stronghold on Oyeyama, “Devil’s Mountain.” The Emperor Murakami, losing patience, ordered Raiko to put an end to his exploits with the aid of a magic cap and poisoned sake. Raiko and his main retainers: Sakata no Kintoki, Usui no Sadamitsu, Watanabe no Tsuna, and Urabe no Suyetake stupefied the enormous hulk that was Shuten-doji and decapitated him. Depictions of this scene usually show the head flying through the air and it often has a more gruesome appearance with fangs and horns. Raiko returned in triumph with the head to Kyoto. One of Kuniyoshi’s best designs. Published c 1851-2 by Amatsu. Robinson T261. Rare.


Fine impression and colour. Some oxidation as usual. Slight trimmimg, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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The ronin Mase Magokuro Masatoki swimming to the surface surrounded by two rays and an octopus. His sword is loosely strapped around his waist. From a set Seichu gishin meimei kagami, “Mirror of the True Loyalty of the faithful Retainers, Individually.” Published by Iseya Isaburo, 1857. Robinson S90.41. A fine design.


Fine impression and colour. Extensive sprayed gofun ( oxidised ). Light discolouration top right, but otherwise good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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An unfinished otanzaku set Buyu nazorae Genji, “Selected Warriors for the Chapters of Genji.” This design illustrating Chapter 38 ( Suzumushi ) of the Genji monogatari ( the Genji crest in the middle upper right cartouche ). Shows Satsuma Taira Tadanori in court dress with open fan at the door of the house of Kiku-no-mae of the Miyabara family. Published by Ibaya Sensaburo, c 1846. Robinson S28.38.


Fine impression, colour and condition. A slightly later and trimmed copy illustrated in Heroes & Ghosts, 1998, no. 44, p. 70. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A fine hanshita-e triptych drawing by Kuniyoshi showing the actors Arashi Kichisaburo, Ichikawa Kuzo and Ogami Eisaburo, probably in the play Hiragawa seisuiki. Sumi and light colour, 14.5 x 30 in, 37 x 76.5 cma. Each sheet fully signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga with hand-stamped red Kiri seal. Some pentimenti. Laid down onto a larger sheet of paper. Light staining, otherwise good condition.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A fine hanshita-e triptych drawing by Kuniyoshi showing the strong woman Kaneko Kugutsune ( also called O Kane or Omi no O Kane ). She is normally depicted – as here – holding down the sacred white temple horse with her geta. These appear to be lifelike dolls: There seems to have been a craze for such figures in the 1850s. Other materials used to make such figures and animals were shells, cane and flowers. Sumi and light colour, 14.5 x 30 in, 37 x 76.5 cms. Each sheet fully signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga. Unidentified publisher’s seal, c 1855. Some pentimenti. Laid down onto a larger sheet of paper. Light staining, otherwise good condition. Kuniyoshi appears to have liked this subject and designed a number of prints including a famous horizontal landscape in western style.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A fine hanshita-e triptych drawing by Kuniyoshi showing a general ( possibly Kato Kiyomasa ) on a horse far left and surrounded by his soldiers. He is viewing flotillas of boats laden with more troops. Sumi and light touches of red, 14.5 x 30 in, 37 x 76.5 cms. Each sheet fully signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga with censor seal pasted on for 9/1860. The publisher’s seal Yamamotoya Heikichi and hand-stamped red Kiri seal on each sheet. Extensive pentimenti. Laid down onto a larger sheet of paper. Light staining, otherwise good condition.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A triptych with title Furyu ningyo zu, “Pictures of Dolls in Contemporary Fashion.” There was a craze for these lifelike dolls in the 1850s ( this triptych being dated 2/1856 ). In fact Kuniyoshi designed another print in the same year of the centre subject Tammeijiro Genshogo being captured. This impression appears to be the only known copy: Not listed anywhere. Unidentified publisher. An original hanshita-e for the first sheet exists in the Victoria & Albert Museum, illustrated in Japanese Colour Prints, Edward F. Strange, 1913, pl. XLII.


Very fine impression and colour. Possibly very slightly trimmed round. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.



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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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The best design from Kenjo reppuden, “Stories of Wise and Virtuous Women.” Shows Hatsuhana doing penance under the Tonozawa waterfall fulfilling a vow made on behalf of her sick husband, Katsugoro. She dies from the experience but Katsugoro is cured and kills his brother’s murderer near the waterfall observed by Hatsuhana’s ghost. Published c 1842 by Ibaya Sensaburo.


Very good impression, colour and condition. Completely untrimmed with extra paper showing all round. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.



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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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The priest Nichiren calming a storm at Kakuda on his way to Sado Island by invoking the name of the Lotus Sutra ( namu myoho rengekyo ) which is shown written on the waves. From Koso goichidai ryakuzu, “Illustrated Abridged Biography of the Founder. “ Nichiren was the founder of the Buddhist Nichiren sect ( Nichiren shu – Kuniyoshi being a follower ) and indeed the set of ten prints may have been commissioned to mark the 550th anniversary of his death. Published c. 1831 by Iseya Rihei. This is the first edition with black spots printed in the sky; splashed gofun; gradation on the distant sea; blue gradation at top, and grey mountain. One of the three best designs from the set. ( See this website for the snow scene and Nichiren praying for rain. )


Fine impression and colour. Minor soil and slight centre fold. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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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 basic difference is that the design is known with and without a horizon line and that there is at least one impression where the uninked, 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 an extremely 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 print offered here has the horizon line and the gradation at the base of the mountain upwards. Left border line is unbroken. The composition is based on a design in the illustrated book Bumpo sansui gafu by Kawamura Bumpo, published posthumously in 1824. Although not from a landscape set, this is considered one of the great 19th century landscapes. Provenance: Ex collection Hans Crzellitzer, seal top right corner.


Very good impression. Some fading and light soil. Slight centre fold. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi hitsu.


Status: Sold

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