Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Soga no Juro and Soga no Goro attack Suketsune in the snow. From a set Soga monogatari zue, “The Revenge of the Soga Brothers.” A set of 30 prints published by Ibaya Senzaburo, 1848. This famous story has many versions but basically it tells how Kawazu Sukeyasu was murdered by his cousin Kudo Suketsune. Sukeyasu left two sons and his widow remarried a man named Soga. He adopted the two children and they waited patiently for an opportunity to kill Suketsune which came when he was hunting near Mt Fuji. They killed him but were themselves slain in the ensuing battle. This is the first edition , it was republished in 1858 by Yamaguchiya Tobei.

 

Fine impression and colour. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Ichiryusai HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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The Soga brothers bidding farewell to the summer foliage. From a set Soga monogatari zue, “The Revenge of the Soga Brothers.” A set of 30 prints published by Ibaya Senzaburo, 1848. This famous story has many versions but basically it tells how Kawazu Sukeyasu was murdered by his cousin Kudo Suketsune. Sukeyasu left two sons and his widow remarried a man named Soga. He adopted the two children and they waited patiently for an opportunity to kill Suketsune which came when he was hunting near Mt Fuji. They killed him but were themselves slain in the ensuing battle. This is the first edition, it was republished in 1858 by Yamaguchiya Tobei.

 

Fine impression and colour. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa YOSHITSUYA (1822-1866)



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A fine design showing the outlaw Yasusuke Hakamadare surrounded by a giant snake amidst falling leaves. He was able to disguise himself using the skins of animals and this translated into the notion that he could transform himself into these creatures or conjure them up as in the case of the battle between Raiko and Hakamadare where he invocates a giant snake. (The subject of another triptych design by Yoshitsuya.) From a rare set: Dai Nihon jutsu zukushi, “An Assortment of Magic in Great Japan.” This talented pupil of Kuniyoshi had a penchant for snakes, and produced some striking prints. Published 1861.

 

Fine impression. Very good colour and condition. Full size with extra paper around. Signed Ichieisai Yoshitsuya ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa YOSHIKAZU (Fl. 1850-1870)



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The battle in snow at the Go-ju-no Pagoda on Mt. Yoshino. Sato Shirobyoe Tadanobu, a follower of Minamoto no Yoshitsune, swiches armour with Yoshitsune to do battle with the warrior monks led by Yokogawa Kakuhan. Published 1858 by Maruya Jinpachi.

 

Extremely fine impression with extensive splashed and sprayed gofun. Fine impression and condition. Signed Ichijusai Yoshikazu ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa YOSHIKAZU (Fl. 1850-1870)



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A triptych showing the battle of Shijo Nawate at Yoshino, Nara. Shows Kusunoki Masatsura of the Southern army in the centre amidst a hail of arrows battling the Northern armies in 1348. He was killed in this fight at the age of 22. Published by Sanoya Tomigoro, 1862.

 

Very good impression and colour. Very slight trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichikawa Yoshikazu ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Taiso YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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A triptych entitled Autumn Moon. A famous subject showing the aristocrat Fujiwara no Yasumasa playing his flute on a lonely moor and the bandit Hakamadare Yasusuke creeping up on him. So entranced was Hakamadare by the music that all he could do was to follow Yasumasa home. This is a version of a design published in 1868 with partially new blocks and an uncluttered background. It is regarded as a new design. Published by Katada Chojiro, 1884.

 

Fine impression and colour. Slight edge soil, otherwise very good condition. Signed Yoshitoshi.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Soshiko Raio (Chinese: Lei Heng) gripping the throat of Lady Hakushuyei and about to strike her. A design from the fine set Tsuzoku Suikoden goketsu hyaku-hachi-nin no hitori, “The Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Popular Suikoden, One by One.” Based on the Chinese novel Shui Hu Zhuan, attributed to Shi’Nai’an, which tells of a band of 108 brigands who operated from Liangshan Marsh. Published by Kagaya Kichiyemon, 1827-30. Robinson S2.67.

 

Fine impression and colour. Full size (unusual as these prints are overlarge obans and usually trimmed down to the common denominator in albums). Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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The priest Mongaku Shonin doing thirty-seven days penance under the freezing Nachi waterfall near Kyoto. He is helped by Fudo Myo-o’s two attendants Seitaka and Kongara seen here top right. This act of self-mortification is because he accidentally killed his beloved cousin Kesa. Published by Uoya Eikichi, 1860. A fine design.

 

Superb impression of the first state with splashed gofun over Mongaku’s head. Fine colour. Lightly backed and imperceptible centrefold, otherwise fine condition. Signed Chooro Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Taiso YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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Yamauba and Kintoki from a set of thirteen prints Ikkai zuihitsu, “A Miscellany by Ikkai,” this being an early name of Yoshitoshi’s. A strange print in more ways than one: Not only is this his most “Westernized” design, but the impression is a puzzle. There is a thought that the design is based on Raphael’s Santa Familia but it could as easily be a Botticelli. Certainly it looks to be after Madonna and child images he has seen. Also, this set has numerous variations in seals. Basically, it seems those with red or black seals in the margin are the earliest. However, this is a fine impression and has no seals. Published by Masadaya Heikichi, 1872.

 

Fine impression and colour (with Kintoki a deeper red than on other impressions). Very good condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Okumura MASANOBU (1686 -1764)




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An hosoban showing banners for the Boy’s Festival held on the fifth day of the fifth month. These depicted Shoki, the Demon Quellor. One Shoki has come alive and leaps down from the banner to attack an oni – his traditional foe. At the top left on a small banner is the title: Nobori no Shoki, “Shoki the Devil-Quellor.” Masanobu was one of the most influential artists in Ukiyo-e. His long life covered hand-coloured prints through to full colour printing in the mid 1760s and he was one of the first to use the block-printing process after 1740 and pioneer the benizuri-e picture. Extremely innovative: he pioneered the uki-e print, pillar print and ishizuri-e. Not only was he a print artist, he also illustrated books, albums and produced paintings. He started his own publishing house, Okumuraya, which gave him greater control over the printing process. The popularity of his work led to many copies by other publishers, and he had to certify his work as being the “genuine” article. Published c 1725 by Tori-shio-cho, kongen Okumura hammoto. Kono ho no e nise han soro aida hyotan shirushi idashi soro. Provenance: Ex Schindler collection with seal au verso. See Masterpieces Of Ukiyoe-e Prints from The Schindler Collection, Nihon Keizai Shimbun Inc., 1985, no. 8, page 22. Extremely rare.

 

 

Very good impression and colour. Urushi: hand coloured with yellow, tan, green and sumi wash. Small edge repair top left, otherwise very good condition. Signed Nihon gwako Masanobu sho-hitsu with Okumura seal.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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Saimyoji Tokiyori Nyudo in the snow from a set of 51 prints Dai Nippon meisho kagami, “A Mirror of Famous Commanders of Great Japan.” The set was published by Ebisuya Shoshichi (the first 11 prints) and Funazu Chujiro between 1878-1882. Tokiyori became Regent (Shikken) in 1246. In 1256 he took the tonsure and was reputed to travel the country incognito to view and better understand the living conditions of the people. Published by Funazu Chujiro in 1878.

 

 

Fine, early impression. This is the first state. The snow block was recut on later editions. Fine colour. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Oju Yoshitoshi hitsu

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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The serpent Tamichi attacking his enemies from a set of 51 prints Dai Nippon meisho kagami, “A Mirror of Famous Commanders of Great Japan.” The set was published by Ebisuya Shoshichi (the first 11 prints) and Funazu Chujiro between 1878-1882. Like Abe no Hirafu, Tamichi was involved in the subjugation of the Emishi. He was killed by a poisoned arrow but was reincarnated as a giant snake to finally overcome his enemies. Published by Funazu Chujiro in 1880.

 

 

Fine, early impression with mica on the snake. Fine colour. Light album backing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Oju Yoshitoshi hitsu.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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I no Hayata Hironao killing the nue from a set Honcho Suikoden goyu happyakunin no hitori, “One of the Eight Hundred Heroes of the Water Margin of Japan.” In the year 1154 the Emperor Konoe was having trouble sleeping due to weird shrieks and scratchings coming from the roof of his castle. He called for the famed archer Minamoto no Yorimasa (1106-80) to solve the problem. Yorimasa shoots an arrow at a black cloud surrounding the roof and the beast nue falls to earth being finished off by his servant I no Hayata Hironao. The composit creature was said to have the head of a monkey, back of a badger, legs of a tiger, scales of a dragon, and tail of a snake, but accounts vary. Published by Kagaya Kichiemon c 1831. One of the great early designs. Robinson S4a.6. Rare.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. In exceptional condition with extra paper on three sides which is extremely unusual. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Wada Heita Tanenaga (1182-1213) battling a giant python (uwabami) near a waterfall.He was a renowned archer and retainer of Minamoto no Yoriie. Various stories tell how he came across the python in a cave or saved a village from its carnivorous attacks. A popular subject that gave rise to some excellent designs by Kuniyoshi and his pupils. From an untitled early set published by Yamaguchiya Tobei, c 1834-5. Robinson S1c.10.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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A vertical diptych showing Taira no Koremochi discovering that a princess is, in reality, a demon. Taira Koremochi Togakushiyama kijo taiji no zu. The story relates how, while maple viewing on Mt. Togakushi in Shinano, Taira no Koremochi comes across a princess and her attendants. He joins them eating and drinking and finally falls into a deep sleep. He dreams that the princess is in fact a kijo (a young woman turned into an oni) and that she is intent on killing him. He awakes to see her true appearance reflected in the water of a nearby stream and kills her. Published by Matsui Eikichi, 1887. It was republished later by Hasegawa.

 

 

Very fine impression and colour. Perfect condition with ample room for joining of two sheets and full margin on left and top – which these designs must have. Signed Oju Yoshitoshi.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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A triptych from a set of ten: Dai Nippon shiryaku zue, “Short Illustrated History of Great Japan.” Each print is in the form of an unrolled makimono. This design shows the third son of the twelfth century Emperor Keiko, Yamato Takeru no mikoto (Wo-usu). His father was constantly sending him on dangerous missions making him suspect that he wished his death. One such journey was to the Emishi in northeast Japan. On complaining about this to his high-priestess aunt, Yamato-hime, she gave him the famous sword Ame no murakumo no hoken to aid him. On his arrival, the ruler of the Emishi lured him onto open grassland which he set on fire. Wo-usu used his sword to cut the grass, evade death, and start new fires to kill his enemy. Published by Kobayashi 1880. A fine design.

 

 

Fine impression of first edition. Fine colour. Slight album backing, otherwise very good condition. Signed Taiso Yoshitoshi.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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A triptych from a set of ten: Dai Nippon shiryaku zue, “Short Illustrated History of Great Japan.” Each print is in the form of an unrolled makimono. This design shows the twenty-first Emperor Yuryaku-Tenno (457-479) out following his favourite diversion – hunting. The story relates how during 461 on Mount Katsuragi a large boar attacked him. He ordered his aid to shoot it but the man ran away, whereupon the Emperor kicked the boar onto its back and killed it. Published by Tsunashima 1879.

 

 

Fine impression of first edition. Fine colour. Slight album backing, otherwise very good condition. Signed Taiso Yoshitoshi.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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A triptych from a set of ten: Dai Nippon shiryaku zue, “Short Illustrated History of Great Japan.” Each print is in the form of an unrolled makimono. This design shows the attempted execution of Nichiren during the reign of the ninetieth Emperor Kameyama (1249-1305). Details vary but essentially the attempt was made on the beach at Tatsunokuchi, Kamakura in 9/1271. As the party were passing the shrine of the god Hachiman, Nichiren gave vent to his anger at being unprotected and called on various Buddhist deities. A luminous object shot across the sky and a fierce wind materialized. The soldiers fell to the ground and called off the execution. Published by Morimoto 1879. A fine design.

 

 

Fine impression of first edition. Fine colour. Slight album backing, otherwise very good condition. Signed Taiso Yoshitoshi.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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A triptych from a set of ten: Dai Nippon shiryaku zue, “Short Illustrated History of Great Japan.” Each print is in the form of an unrolled makimono. This design shows the great battle of Dannoura in the Shimonoseki Strait off the southern tip of Honshu on April 25th, 1185. The engagement took place in the reign of the Emperor Antoku (who drowned in the battle, 1178-1185). The protagonists were the Minamoto clan (Genji) led by Minamoto no Yoshitsune and the Taira clan (Heike). The episode shown here is where Yoshitsune escapes the Heike general Noto no kami Noritsune by making the eight-boat leap. Published by Morimoto 1880.

 

 

Fine impression of first edition. Fine colour. Slight album backing, otherwise very good condition. Signed Taiso Yoshitoshi.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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A triptych from a set Buyu setsugekka, “Heroes for the Snow, Moon and Flowers,” this being Gojo no tsuki, “Moon Over Gojo [Bridge].” Published by Isaya Kanekichi c 1867. A popular subject for artists it tells of the battle between the young Yoshitsune and the warrior monk Benkei who had secured the bridge and fought each samurai wanting to cross in order to steal their sword. The 1000th was Yoshitsune who defeats Benkei and secures his loyalty for the ensuing years. Yoshitsune was taught martial arts by tengu in the forests outside Kyoto as a child and they are seen here aiding and abetting him in his duel.

 

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Full size with added mica at top. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A triptych of the night attack on Yoshitsune’s palace on the Hirikawa, Kyoto -hence called the Horikawa Palace – by the troops of Yoshitsune’s brother (Yoritomo) led by Tosaba Shoshun in 1185. Horikawa yo-uchi no zue. Yoshitsune is seen on the raised wooden platform with Benkei. Below is his mistress, Lady Shizuka, with a halberd. Yoshitsune’s brother’s mind was poisoned against him and he was thought of as a threat. Published by Sanoya Kihei, 1851.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A triptych showing a figure in the centre painting Otsu-e pictures which float up and materialise as the actual characters. Toki ni Otsu-e kitai no maremono, “Popular Otsu-e Paintings for the Times: A long-awaited Rarity.” In fact, this is a self-portrait of Kuniyoshi. He is shown with one of his many cats watching him and his kiri seal fan to his left. Tantalizingly, Kuniyoshi partially covers his face with a painting. There are few images of Kuniyoshi. Published by Minatoya Kohei, c 1848.

 

 

Very good impression and colour. Slight crinckling of paper, otherwise very good condition. Signed ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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Ichikawa Danjuro IX as the Chinese pirate from Fuzhou (Fukushu kaizoku) shichiso kanteirei from the set: Shiranui monogatari kanto no hitori. Shiranui monogatari was a picture-book published in three parts from 1849 onwards, written by three authors: Ryukatei Tanekazu, Ryutei Tanehiko II, and Ryusuitei Tanekiyo, with illustrations by Toyokuni III. In 1853 it became the subject of a popular Kabuki play. Published by Kobayashi Tetsujiro, 1879. A rare set.

 

Very fine impression, colour and condition with extensive burnishing. Signed Toyohara Kunichika ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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Onoe Kikugoro V as Aoyagi Harunosuke Toshitada holding a large bronze bell from the set: Shiranui monogatari kanto no hitori. Shiranui monogatari was a picture-book published in three parts from 1849 onwards, written by three authors: Ryukatei Tanekazu, Ryutei Tanehiko II, and Ryusuitei Tanekiyo, with illustrations by Toyokuni III. In 1853 it became the subject of a popular Kabuki play. Published by Kobayashi Tetsujiro, 1879. A rare set.

 

Very fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Toyohara Kunichika ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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The warrior Kojoso Jisen in a tree by moonlight shining his lantern towards the ground. From the set Tsuzoku Suikoden goketsu hyaku-hachi-nin no hitori, “The Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Popular Suikoden, One by One.” Published by Kagaya Kichiyemon, 1827-30. Robinson S2. 33.

 

Fine impression and colour. Fine condition. Full size (unusual as this set are overlarge obans and often trimmed). Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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The warrior Hitentaisei Rikon in armour, holding a long-handled axe and scanning the horizon from a craggy outcrop. From the set Tsuzoku Suikoden goketsu hyaku-hachi-nin no hitori, “The Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Popular Suikoden, One by One.” Published by Kagaya Kichiyemon, 1827-30. Robinson S2. 21.

 

Extremely fine impression and colour. Fine condition. Full size (unusual as this set are overlarge obans and often trimmed). Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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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. The printing on this set is exceptional with details such as the sword blades and title cartouches burnished. Signed Kuniyoshi ga.


Status: Sold

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Taiso YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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Wakashima Gonemon swimming underwater with a large rope attempting to retrieve the ancient dragon-headed bell of the Dragon God. The beams of light indicate its location. In the event, the rope broke and the bell is supposedly still in situ at the bottom of the Sumida river. The best design from Azuma no nishiki ukiyo kodan, “Tales of the Floating World on Eastern Brocade.” The stories retold by Kanagaki Robun (text at top). Published by Masudaya, 11/1867.

 

Very good impression, colour and condition. Full size. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A famous triptych: The ghosts of the Taira warriors attacking Yoshitsune’s ship in Daimotsu bay. Shows Minamoto no Yoshitsune (1159-89) aboard his ship Tsukimaru sailing along the coast of Settsu Province at Daimotsu. It was here that the Minamoto and Taira clans clashed and many Taira warriors perished. It is the ghosts of these that rise from the waves to attack Yoshitsune. His men struggle to lower the sail while Yoshitsune’s loyal retainer, Benkei, rubs his prayer beads and offers prayers to the gods of the sea and to Kannon, the Bodhisattva of mercy and the storm abates. Published 1849-51 by Enshuya Hikobei.

 

A very nice example of this rare print: A number of states exist, the earliest having white lines in the waves lower right. The main differences are with the ghosts. The horns and eyes are removed but the printing and gradation of these varies as well. This impression has the lines but the eyes and horns removed so seems to be an intermediate state between first and second editions. There is no great variation in impression between these states. Very good impression and colour. Slightly trimmed. otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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One of Yoshitoshi’s finest designs: Gikeiki Gojobashi no zu. The fight between Ushiwaka and Benkei on Gojo Bridge, Kyoto. The story relates how Benkei only needs one more blade to add to the 999 he has wrenched from samurai attempting to cross the bridge in order to fashion an invincible weapon. Benkei loses the fight and becomes Yoshitsune’s loyal retainer. Published 1881 by Morimoto Junzaburo.

 

Fine impression and colour. Very slight trimming, otherwise fine condition. Signed Taiso Yoshitoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Kochoro KUNISADA (1786-1865)




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An exceptionally rare triptych showing Minamoto no Yorimitsu (Raiko) and his loyal retainers, from left to right: Watanabe no Tsuna, Usui no Sadamitsu, Sakata no Kintoki and Urabe no Suetake killing the giant “Earth Spider.” Numerous versions exist of this story but basically Raiko and his followers have to tackle various horrendous apparitions in a cave within the hill Kagura ga oka near Kyoto, eventually to be faced by a beautiful woman who envelops Raiko in cobwebs. He slays her and her body turns into the spider, the head being twenty-five feet long and eyes shining like the sun and moon. He cuts off the beast’s head and the carcase reveals the many bodies devoured by it. An extremely early Kunisada print published by Nishimuraya Yohachi, c 1815. I have not seen this design before or located another impression.

 

Very good impression, colour and condition. Full size with extra paper around. Signed Kunisada ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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The ronin Okuda Sadaemon Fujiwara Yukitaka ( number 42 ) from Seichu gishinden, “Tales of True Loyalty.” From a rare uncompleted set of the 47 Ronin published 6/1868 by Masudaya. Thirteen designs extant. It has been suggested that the set was completed but that the others are not known based on the fact that two of the prints are numbered 3 and 46. An error as artists did not commence and progress from number 1. Artists chose at random which numbers from a set to start with. Well known examples being Hiroshige’s Tokaido and Kisokaido.


Very good impression and colour. Light album backing. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu.


Status: Sold

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Taiso YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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Uesugi Kenshin Nyudo Terutora riding into battle. From the fine set Yoshitoshi mushaburui, “Yoshitoshi’s Courageous Warriors.” Published by Kobayashi, 1883-1886 (this being 1883).

 

Fine impression and colour. Light toning, otherwise fine condition. This is the first edition. There are a number of later states and the set was republished by Tsunajima in 1886.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A triptych showing Kato Kiyomasa (Watoni) and his henchmen watching Korean man-eating tigers carrying off their compatriots across a river. Watoni gunko toshu no zu. Hideyoshi sent Kiyomasa to Korea twice in 1592 and 1597. He is often depicted killing a man-eating tiger. Published by Yamaguchi-ya Tobei in 1855.


Very early fine impression with beautiful colour variation on the rocks at right. Fine colour. Slight edge crease near left edge of first sheet and imperceptible centre folds, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Nanke yushi Shijo-nawate nite uchijini. The last stand of the Kusunoki clan at Shijo-nawate in 1348. Kusunoki Masatsura, shown on the far left propped against his fallen horse under a rain of arrows, continues his father’s struggle against the Ashikaga forces. Wada Shinbochi (Genshu) leads the way holding enemy heads followed by Masatomo with a battle standard. Their blue complexions anticipate their imminent demise. Published by Fujioka-ya Keijiro, 1851-2. Robinson T271.


Fine impression. One small backed wormhole on title, otherwise very good condition. Full size. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A triptych showing Ushiwaka Maru (Minamoto no Yoshitsune’s childhood name), attended by Kisanda, practising fencing with the karasu or “crow” tengu in a forest glade on Mt Kurama, north of Kyoto. His training in martial arts is being supervised by a white-bearded yamabushi tengu, Sojobo, King of the Tengu. (The yamabushi were followers of Shugendo – a shamanistic mountain ascetism.) Yoshitsune (1159-1189) is the best known Japanese warrior and a popular subject for Japanese artists and craftsmen. Famous for exploits such as the battle on Gojo Bridge with Benkei and the battle of Dan-no-ura. Published by Enshuya Hikobei, 1851-2. Robinson T264.


Fine impression. This is the first state with gradation on the rocks top left. Fine colour. Very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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An extremely rare diptych showing Princess Wakana (left) played by Bando Shuka I and the warriors Genkai Nadaemon played by Arashi Rikan III; Washizu Rokuro played by Arashi Rikaku II; Wachizu Shichoro played by Bando Takesaburo I. The play Shiranui monogatari, “The Tale of the White Embroiderer” was performed at the Kawarazaki Theatre, 2/1853. The story (from a late Edo novel) tells of the feud between Wakana and the Kikuchi clan who killed her family. She is rescued by a spider who gives her the power of spider magic which, with the aid of a spider scroll, enables her to conjure up a giant spider to assist her. Published by Kakumoto-ya Kinjiro. This is the only complete impression I have seen and I can only find one other recorded example (listed in the Kuniyoshi Project).


Fine impression and colour. Small edge binding holes, otherwise fine condition Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.


Status: Sold

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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A vertical diptych showing Cho Jun, the white stripe in the waves, wrestling in the river with Ri Ki, the black whirlwind. Ronhakucho Chojun kokusempu Riki kochu ni tatakau no zu. The story concerns the river pirate, Ri Ki, who is caught stealing fish by Cho Jun and the ensuing underwater battle. Initially, Ri Ki has the upper hand but Cho Jun challenges him again and they fight until Ri Ki’s compatriots stop the engagement and invite Cho Jun to join their gang. Published by Matsui Eikichi, 1887. This is the extremely rare first state before the publisher and date in left margin. See my blog.


Very fine impression. Fine colour. Slight discolouration to top margins, otherwise fine condition. Full margins all round with ample room for joining. Signed Oju Yoshitoshi hitsu.


Status: Sold

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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, colour and condition. (A good guide to the quality of the impression is to look at the outline of Benkei’s face: This fine line started to break down early on.) An impression that has not been in an album: Full margins with very extensive mica. Signed Yoshitoshi.


Status: Sold

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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.


Status: Sold

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