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.


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Utagawa YOSHIIKU ( 1833-1904 )




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No. 82, Goto Matabei Mototsugu stopping a cannon shot with his shield from a large chuban series Taiheiki eiyuden “ Biographies of the Heroes of the Taiheiki.” A fictional history written in the late 14th century. The set published by Hirooka Kosuke, 1/1867. One of the four best designs from the set.


Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Chokaro Yoshiiku ga.


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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.


Very good impression and colour. Full margins with extensive mica. Offsetting visible au verso, otherwise very good condition. Signed Yoshitoshi.


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Utagawa KUNISADA II (1823-1880)




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The cat witch Ama Myochin. The best design from the set Hakkenden inu no soshi no uchi, biographies of the Eight Dog heroes. She peeps between two bamboo curtains, the silhouette of her true self – large hairy body and huge claws – being revealed through the curtains. Cherry blossom floats down. Published 1852 by Tsutaya Kichizo. The Hakkenden, Bakin’s famous novel, was a popular source for ukiyo-e artists.


Very good impression and colour. Slightly trimmed round. Signed Ichiyosai Kunisada ga.


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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1787-1858)




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Oniwakamaru, the young Benkei, battling with the giant red carp that swallowed his mother. From a set Yoshitsune ichidai zu. Of the utmost rarity: Stewart in Subjects Portrayed in Japanese Colour-Prints, Kegan Paul, 1922, p. 318, states that only one design ( not this ) was known at that time. It is unknown how many prints were designed for this set. Published c. 1845. A wonderful design and shows that Hiroshige could excel in other areas apart from landscapes.


Fine impression and colour. Slight discolouration in margins, otherwise good condition. Signed Ichiryusai Hiroshige ga.


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Kawanabe KYOSAI (1831-1889)




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MAY in romaji from a set of the twelve months, Junikagetsu no uchi, although this is the only known design for the set. One of Kyosai’s best designs. Shows Shoki, the “Demon Queller” riding a tiger and brandishing his two-edged sword at a group of terrified oni. Shoki ( Chinese: Chung K’wei ) was lauded for having relieved the Emperor Ming Hwang of the fever demon during his sleep. A favourite subject for Japanese artists, although mostly ignored by the Chinese. Published by Fukuda Kumajiro, 1887. Paintings of Shoki were hung on Boy’s Day ( 5th day of the 5th month ). Hence Kyosai choosing this subject for MAY.


Fine impression and colour. Trimmed at bottom, otherwise very good condition: This design is notorious for often being heavily trimmed and consequently for the three sheets not aligning properly. And also for being trimmed into the title at right. Signed Kyosai ga.


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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Shinchunagon Tomomori clasping the great anchor and binding the rope about him prior to jumping into the sea after his defeat at the battle of Dannoura. From an untitled series of at least seventeen prints. This design published by Yamashiroya Heisuke, c. 1845. Extremely rare: Ex Robinson collection and illustrated by him in colour in Kuniyoshi, Phaidon, 1982, pl. 13, SIf.7. Sold by me to Robinson in 1980 and at that time it was the only impression he had seen. I have subsequently not seen another.


Fine impression and colour. Trimmed round slightly and small repaired binding holes at right. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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Mushashino no tsuki, “The Moon on Musashi Plain ” from the set Tsuki hyakushi, the “Hundred Phases of the Moon”. The set published between 1885 and 1892 ( this being 1892 ) by Akiyama Buemon. One of the three best designs from the set and the one that relies most on the printer’s art – using extensive bokashi. The fox was capable of transmogrifying into human form and vice versa and was popular in Japanese folklore.


Very fine impression with beautiful gradation of the earliest printings on the grasses around the fox. ( See Beauty & Violence, 1992, 54.97, p. 75 for an example of the more prosaic later printing. ) Fine colour. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Yoshitoshi.



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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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Suketakaya Takasuke IV as Inuzuka Shino on the roof of the pavilion Horyukaku fighting Kenpachi. A fine set based on Bakin’s Hakkenden, entitled “A Parody of the Hakkenden” published by Fukuda Kumajiro, 1883. A rare series that shows, even at this late date, there are flashes of brilliance.


Very fine impression of the first de-luxe edition with silver and beautiful bokashi. Fine colour and condition. Full size. Signed Yasohachi Kunichika hitsu.



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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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Nakamura Shikan II as Inuyama Dosetsu battling with Inukai Kenpachi. A fine set based on Bakin’s Hakkenden entitled “A Parody of the Hakkenden” published by Fukuda Kumajiro, 1883. A rare series that shows, even at this late date, there are flashes of brilliance.


Very fine impression of the first de-luxe edition with extensive burnishing and silver. Fine colour and condition. Full size. Signed Yasohachi Kunichika hitsu.



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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 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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Okumura MASANOBU (1686 – 1764)




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A hosoban showing the fight between Ushiwaka Maru ( Yoshitsune ) and Benkei on Gojo Bridge ( 1170 ). Arguably the most influential figure in ukiyoe, reputedly being the innovator of colour printing. An urushi-e, coloured by hand in yellow, tan, lilac, gofun and heavy sumi over embossed lines. Published c 1725. Ex collections Tony Straus-Negbaur and Walter von Scheven ( 1878 – 1950 ) and purchased by him at Cassirer & Helbing, 1928, lot 64, ( from Tony Straus-Negbaur ). Extremely rare.


Very good impression. Slight soil and small repaired edge wormholes. But generally very nice condition for such an example. Signed Okumura Masanobu hitsu.



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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.


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



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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797 – 1861)




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Sasai Kyuzo Masayasu enveloped in smoke and avoiding musketry at the battle of Anegawa ( 1570 ). The best design from Taiheiki yeiyu den, “Heroic Stories of the Taiheiki.” Published by Yamamoto-ya Heikichi, 1848-9. Robinson S62.36.


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



Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797 – 1861)




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The battle of Miidera Temple. An early triptych, c. 1820-25. The temple became very prosperous but was at constant war with its rival, the Hieizan. Both temples kept armies of mercenaries. Published by Yamamoto-ya Heikichi. A later edition is illustrated in Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Exhibition to Commemorate the 200th Anniversary of Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s Birth, Nagoya City Museum et al, 1996, no. 5, p. 36. Probably Robinson T6.


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



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Torii KIYONAGA (1752 – 1815)




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A chubby red Kintaro acting as an umpire for two battling tengu. Other tengu in baskets behind him and at his side a bear also watches. These tengu – winged, beaked and clawed creatures – lived in the mountains and forests. It is narrated that as a toddler he was observed shaking and tearing at a large tree in which there was a nest of tengu fledglings, which he took home in a basket. Kiyonaga designed at least 28 of these Kintaro prints, see Kiyonaga, Chie Hirano, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1939, nos. 979 – 1006 ( this being 1005, PLLXV ). Published by Nishimura, 1812. Rare.


Very good impression and colour. Minor edge soil and signs of mounting au verso. Signed Kiyonaga hitsu.



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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1798 – 1861)




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Takatsuna’s greatest exploit: Shown here ( centre ) swimming with his horse across the swollen Uji River to attack Kiso no Yoshinaka. His rival Kagesuye ( left ) and Shigetada further off to the right. Published by Yenshu-ya Hikobei 1849. A wonderful design. Robinson T217.


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



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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839 – 1892)




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Shows the young warrior said to be as strong as an ox Sen-Kanja Usjiwaka Saburo Yoshitora. From the fine chuban set of fifty prints Biyu Suikoden, “Handsome Heroes of the Water Margin” published by Omiya Kyujiro, 1866/7 ( this being 1867 ).


Fine impression and colour. Very good condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu.



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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839 – 1892)




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Shows Ake Tamanosuke, a famous rider and archer with a wooden statue of his mentor Kansho behind him. From the fine chuban set of fifty prints Biyu Suikoden, “Handsome Heroes of the Water Margin” published by Omiya Kyujiro, 1866/7 ( this being 1866 ).


Fine impression and colour with mica ground. Very good condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu.



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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839 – 1892)




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Shows the boisterous Koo-maru, also known as “Hyonosuke” the Leopard Kid. From the fine chuban set of fifty prints Biyu Suikoden, “Handsome Heroes of the Water Margin” published by Omiya Kyujiro, 1866/7 ( this being 1866 ).


Fine impression and colour. Very good condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu.



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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839 – 1892)




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Shows Rokugi Suginosuke Norifusa, a robber-chief and magician, also known as Tengu-jiro as he could fly like the tengus. From the fine chuban set of fifty prints Biyu Suikoden, “Handsome Heroes of the Water Margin” published by Omiya Kyujiro, 1866/7 ( this being 1867 ).


Fine impression and colour with mica. Very good condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu.



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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839 – 1892)




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Shows Akashi Shiganosuke, the notoriously strong Yokozuma sumo-fighter, holding an opponent at bay with one hand. From the fine chuban set of fifty prints Biyu Suikoden, “Handsome Heroes of the Water Margin” published by Omiya Kyujiro, 1866/7 ( this being 1867 ).


Fine impression and colour. Very good condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu.



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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839 – 1892)




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Shows Oshima Tanzo, a member of the robber-chief Shindo Kajiro Nobuyuki’s tribe. From the fine chuban set of fifty prints Biyu Suikoden, “Handsome Heroes of the Water Margin” published by Omiya Kyujiro, 1866/7 ( this being 1866 ).


Fine impression and colour. Very good condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu.



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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839 – 1892)




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Shows the robber-chief Shindo Kojiro Nobuyuki being asked by the monkey spirit of Shinohaza to avenge his murder by Inaba Taro. From the fine chuban set of fifty prints Biyu Suikoden, “Handsome Heroes of the Water Margin” published by Omiya Kyujiro, 1866/7 ( this being 1867 ).


Fine impression and colour with strong burnishing. Very good condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu.



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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839 – 1892)




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Shows Kinezumi Konoshi Kaiden, the muscular monk, killing a monstrous wild cat that had tormented a village. From the fine chuban set of fifty prints Biyu Suikoden, “Handsome Heroes of the Water Margin” published by Omiya Kyujiro, 1866/7 ( this being 1866 ).


Fine impression and colour. Very good condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu.



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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839 – 1892)




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Shows Sangoku Taro who travelled through India and China learning conjuring tricks. From the fine chuban set of fifty prints Biyu Suikoden, “Handsome Heroes of the Water Margin” published by Omiya Kyujiro, 1866/7 ( this being 1866 ).


Fine impression and colour with mica ground. Very good condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu.



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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839 – 1892)




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Shows Satami Jirotaro Yoshishige collecting the head of his adversary Awa Katsegura that his faithful dog has retrieved. From the fine chuban set of fifty prints Biyu Suikoden, “Handsome Heroes of the Water Margin” published by Omiya Kyujiro, 1866/7.


Fine impression and colour with gauffrage on the dog and mica ground. Very good condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu.



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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. Shows Benkei, at the prow of the ship holding Yoshitsune, attempting to pacify the ghosts of the Taira warriors and hence calm the storm in Daimotsu Bay.


Very good impression and colour. Full margins with extensive mica. Offsetting visible au verso, otherwise very good condition. Signed Yoshitoshi.



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Taiso YOSHITOSHI (1839 – 1892)




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The monkey battles Kinkaku Daio on a sea cliff from the rare set of eight prints: Tsuzoku Saiyuki, “A Modern Journey to the West.” Based on Wu Cheng’en’s ( 1500-1582 ) most famous novel, Journey to the West, which was translated and condensed by Arthur Waley and entitled Monkey. This is probably the finest design from this high quality set. Published by Fukuta, 10/1864 ( this design 2/1865 ).


Superb impression. Fine colour and condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi ga.



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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769 – 1825)




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A complete diptych showing Kagekiyo and Mihonoya no Shiro battling. This is an episode from the beginning of Chapter 5, “The Dropped Bow” in book 11 of the Heike Monogatari, “ Tales of the Heike.” This episode, which took place in 1184, has the Genji warrior Mihonoya no Shiro confronting the Heike Kagekiyo on the beach at Yashima. Published c 1815 by Yamamotoya Heikichi.


Fine impression and in exceptional condition. Fine colour with large borders left and top. Signed Toyokuni ga.



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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839 – 1892)




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Lu Ta ( Lu Chi Shen ) demolishing the gate of the temple of the Five-Crested Mountain. A Chinese captain, he accidentally killed a man and to escape death he became a priest at the temple. The abbot cut his hair and renamed him Lu Chi Shen, “Lu of Deep Wisdom.” However, quickly disregarding priestly vows, he became violent again and drank heavily. Staggering back one night he shattered the temple gate fighting the huge wooden guardian figures. The abbot dimissed him and he reappears as one of the 108 heroes of the Suikoden. Published by Matsui 1887.


Very fine impression of the earliest state of the first edition with blind printing and burnishing. This design was reprinted by Hasegawa with seal in upper left margin “Reproduction not permitted” and lacking date. Also, the lovely pigment used to colour the torso of the guardian figure ( which oxidizes ) is replaced with an inferior colour . There are also intermediate printings between first and Hasegawa version. Fine colour. Fine condition with left margin intact: These vertical designs must have the left border uncut as it often contains publication information. Signed Yoshitoshi.



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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839 – 1892)




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Sakata Kintoki asleep in Raiko’s chamber preparing to rid him of the monstrous spider. From Yoshitoshi manga, “Sketches by Yoshitoshi.” A fine set of seven diptychs published by Kobayashi 1885-86 ( this being 1886 ).


Very fine impression of the first edition; the spider’s web printed in silver and with burnishing. Fine colour and as originally published with no backing paper, with the margins completely untrimmed ( often cut in this set ), and plenty of space for joining. Signed Yoshitoshi ga.



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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839 – 1892)




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Murai Choan murders his brother at the crossroads of Fudanotsuji from Shinsen azuma nishiki-e, “New Selection of Eastern Brocade Pictures.” Published 1885-9 by Tsunashima. Choan is a character in a Kabuki drama but there is no mention of him killing his brother – artistic license.


Very fine impression of the first edition ( with three-colour cartouche and yellow borders ). Fine colour and as originally published with no backing paper, with the margins completely untrimmed, and plenty of space for joining. Signed Yoshitoshi.



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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797 – 1861)




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A fine and very rare vertical triptych of 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. At the top of the design is Fudo Myo-o, the guardian deity of waterfalls, and at the bottom and top right are Seitaka and Kongara ( doji of Fudo ). This subject lends itself to some wonderful designs: See this website for a rare horizontal triptych by Yoshitoshi , and there are many single sheets by various artists. The vertical triptych format is rare: It was more convenient to view prints in the horizontal and it was difficult to insert into albums, the top sheets having to be heavily trimmed to fit. ( This impression is as published – completely untrimmed. ) Published by Sumiyoshiya Masagoro, c. 1851. Ex B. W. Robinson collection. This impression illustrated in his book Kuniyoshi, The Warrior Prints, 1982, pl. 64 ( Robinson T253 ). Another example of the same state – ex Pulverer collection – is illustrated in Heroes and Ghosts, Robert Schaap, p. 1998, no. 87, p. 102.


Fine impression and colour. Minor creases, otherwise very good condition. Untrimmed with extra paper for the sheets to join. There are two states of the print: As here with an extra block printing the waves at base of fall, and without. Both are known as fine impressions, although the version without appears to be slightly earlier. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.



Status: Sold




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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1832 – 1892)




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Shows Uesugi no Terutora, best known as Kenshin, riding into battle through clouds of smoke from the set Yoshitoshi musha burui, “Yoshitoshi’s Courageous Warriors.” He is best known for his long standing conflict with Takeda Shingen. For a time the two champions met every year, the campaigns always ending indecisively. Published by Kobayashi Tetsujiro, 1883 ( reprinted by Tsunajima Kamekichi ). Probably the best design from this excellent set.


Very fine impression of the first edition with two small red seals in left margin, complete date, original publisher and three-colour cartouche. There are a number of later editions of this set. Very fine colour. Album backing, otherwise very good condition. Signed Taiso Yoshitoshi ga.



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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797 – 1861)




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The otokodate Goshaku Somegoro playing a bamboo flute ( shakuhachi ) from Kuniyoshi moyo shofuda tsuketari genkin otoko, ” Typical Types of Manly Fellows in Kuniyoshi’s Style.” A fine set of portraits of chivalrous commoners published by Ibaya Kyubei, 1845. This is the actual impression illustrated in Heroes and Ghosts, Robert Schaap, 1998, no. 59, p. 81.


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



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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797 – 1861)




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A fine and rare print showing the diving girl escaping with the Dragon King’s jewel. There were a number of prints designed by Kuniyoshi of this subject which lends itself to fine compositions. She is being chased by the Dragon, fish and octopuses. Published 1844 by Tsutaya. The first issue of this print by Tsutaya was around 1838 – 41 ( with the censor seal printed in black ). However, this is one of the rare examples where the reissue was superior to the original: With gradation on the Dragon and better colouration in the water.


Very good impression and colour. Trimmed round and minor edge wormage. Signed Cho-o-ro Kuniyoshi ga.



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