Please contact JapanesePrints-London for prices of catalogued items. We also purchase prints, paintings and books individually or as collections. Richard Kruml also appraises and values collections.

 

Dealing in fine Japanese prints, paintings and books since 1968.

 

Watanabe NANGAKU (1767-1813)


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A large original painting, full colour on silk, image size 46 x 21.75 in; 116.8 x 55.2 cms. This impressive painting shows two courtesans of the Shimbara (red-light) district of Kyoto and their attendants. Nangaku was one of Maruyama Okyo’s best pupils showing great dexterity in impromptu sketches (sekijo) as well as producing paintings of bijin which show ukiyo-e influences. He was responsible for the introduction of the Maruyama style to Edo where he lived for approximately three years late in his career before moving back to Kyoto where he died. He was included in the first exhibition in Edo of contemporary calligraphies and paintings organised by Sawara Kikuu in 1804. A comparable painting is in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia, acc. no. 121.1980. (See Jack Hillier, The uninhibited brush, Hugh M. Moss, 1974, pp. 93-99.) In very good condition with double box. Signed Nangaku with seals Genzan and Iseki.

 

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Teisai HOKUBA (1771-1844)


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An original painting, full colour on silk, image size 37.5 x 12.75in; 95.2 x 32.3 cms. One of Hokusai’s earliest and best pupils. Produced a few surimono, also illustrated books, but is best known for his paintings of bijin, often shown promenading along the Sumida River, as here. Above is flowering cherry blossom setting the scene in late March or early April. The background is in Kano ink-wash showing boats on the river and below a ferry landing stage which she is presumably making her way towards. A similar painting is in the BM, illustrated in Ukiyo-e Paintings in the British Museum, Timothy Clark, 1992, p. 120, p. 169. Painted c 1830-44. In good condition. Signed Teisai with seal Hokuba gain.

 

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Mori SOSEN (1747-1821)


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An original painting, sumi and light colour on silk, image size 32 x 11.5 in; 81.3 x 29.2 cms. His life is not well documented but he is known to have studied under the Kano artist Yamamoto Joshunsai (? -1781) before being drawn into Mauyama Okyo’s (1735-1795) artistic circle and his style is more Shijo than anything else. His animal paintings were evidently highly valued by Okyo. He was an immediate favourite with eastern collectors because of his monkey paintings at which he excelled, although he was more versatile than literature implies and highly accomplished at drawing other animals. But his images of monkeys take precedence and he is considered the pre-eminent painter, east or west, on this subject. It is alleged that he lived in the woods for three years eating fruit and nuts to study the monkeys and other animals and is also supposed to have had a cage of monkeys at the back of his house to better observe them. Shows two Japanese macaque monkeys, known as the snow monkeys, eating chestnuts. Signed Sosen hitsu with seal Shusho. Minor cracks, otherwise very good condition.

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)



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An uncut fan print showing a geisha adjusting her hair pin set against a snowy landscape. Fukagawa Iyo setsu, “Time in Fukugawa, Iyo Province.” Published 3/1855 by Iseba Magobei.

 

Fine impression and colour with splashed gofun to represent falling snow. Small expertly repaired wormhole, otherwise very good condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

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Utagawa SADAHIDE (1807-1879)



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An uncut fan print Gosekku no uchi, kugatu, tsuki machi, “Five Festivals, Ninth Month, Moon Viewing.” Viewing the full moon in the eighth and ninth months was a popular activity passed down from the aristocracy in Heian times; especially where the moon’s reflection could be seen in water. One such party is seen here where a member vainly attempts to catch a catfish with a gourd: A hopeless task with such an unsuitable utensil. This is based on a Zen riddle posed by Ashikaga Yoshimochi (1386-1428) on how to catch a catfish with a gourd, which inspired the 15th century artist Josetsu to paint the subject with accompanying poems on the conundrum by Zen monks. Published by Iseya Ichiemon, 1835.

 

Fine impression and colour. Two small expertly repaired wormholes, otherwise very good condition. Signed Sadahide ga.

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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Haso no tsuki, “Moon Through a Crumbling Window” 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 Bodhidharma (Jap: Daruma), founder of Zen Buddhism, meditating in a cave for nine years after being refused entry to the Shaolin Monastery. He cut off his eyelids in anger after falling asleep two years into the meditation, and tea plants grew where they fell.

 

Fine impression with strong woodgrain showing in the sky and wall. The set was popular and many editions were printed and many late impressions exist. Great care was taken with the cutting of the blocks on this set and only early impressions do them justice. Fine colour and condition. An impression that has not been in an album. Full margins. Signed Yoshitoshi.

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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Faith in the Third-day Moon 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 the standing figure of the samurai Yamanaka Shikanosuke Yukimori. The moon appears both as a half crescent on his helmet, and also on his kamayari, “sickle spear.” The crescent moon was considered a lucky emblem (mikazuki) and Yukimori believed it would bring him good luck in battle

 

Very fine impression of the earliest printing with beautiful gradation around the figure – often missing on late editions. The set was popular and many editions were printed and many late impressions exist. Great care was taken with the cutting of the blocks on this set and only early impressions do them justice. Fine colour. Light backing and slight trimming at left, otherwise fine condition. Signed Yoshitoshi.

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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Saito no Oniwakamuru from the set Ikkai zuihitsu, “A Miscellany by Ikkai.” (This being an early name of Yoshitoshi’s.) The young Saito Musashibo Benkei was given the moniker Oniwakamuru “Devil Child” because of his feats of strength and general behaviour. The episode depicted here, which was a popular theme for artists, shows the young Oniwakamaru battling a giant carp at the Bishamon Waterfall, where he has gone looking for his mother, Ohaya. On killing the carp, he discovers it has eaten his mother. A set published by Masadaya Heikichi, 1872-3 (this being 1872). Even amongst Yoshitoshi’s best work, this is an outstanding design.

 

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

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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Niai-so: Koka nenkan kuruwa no geisha fuzoku, “Looking Suitable: The Appearance of a Brothel Geisha of the Koka Era [1844-1848].” From the set Thirty-two Aspects of Women published by Tsunashima Kamekichi, 1888. Shows the beauty dressed as a fashionable young man.

 

Very fine impression of the first edition. Very fine colour with blind-printing and burnishing. Gold (brass-powder) applied to the peacock design on the costume. This particular design from the set is notorious for having the brass degrade the paper and these areas fall out as well as offsetting onto the opposite print in album sets. Very fine condition. Signed Yoshitoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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A design from the set Azuma nishiki ukiyo kodan, “Rough Tales of the Floating World.” Various publishers between 1867-1868, here Omi-Kyu in 1868. The prints interpret stories told by various well known storytellers, in this case Momokawa Enkoku. Shows the Monkey King (Son Goku) being catapulted into the air by the force of the large palm fan of Princess Iron Fan. (The fan was capable of creating strong winds and putting out fires.) She was a Rasetsunyo, a female protector of Buddhism. A comparatively rare set

 

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

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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Shows the famous Heron Maiden. There are different versions of this story but the most common tells how a young man finds an injured heron. He nurses it back to health and releases it. Some time later a beautiful young woman appears in his village. He falls in love and they marry. She makes fine brocade which they sell, but she does not allow him to see her making it. Tempted , he secretly views her only to discover she is the heron. This is the end of their marriage and the heron flies away. From the set Shingata sanjurokkaisen, “New Forms of Thirty-six Ghosts,” subtitle: Sagi-musume. The set published by Sasaki between 1889-1892 (this being 1889). This is the first edition.

 

Very fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Yoshitoshi.

 

Status: Available

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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Musashino 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 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.) The set was popular and many editions were printed and many late impressions exist. Great care was taken with the cutting of the blocks on this set and only early impressions do them justice. Fine colour and condition. An impression that has not been in an album. Full margins. Signed Yoshitoshi.

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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A fox priest from the set Tsuki hyakushi, the “Hundred Phases of the Moon.” The set published between 1885 and 1892 (this being 1886) by Akiyama Buemon. Based on the Kyogen farce Konkai, “A Foxe’s Cry” which tells of a hunter who is lectured on trapping foxes by his uncle, a priest. On his way home his uncle turns into his true form, a fox, and is snared in a trap. Yoshitoshi’s design shows the uncle transmogrifying into a fox. One of the best designs from the set.

 

Fine impression and colour from an early printing. The set was popular and many editions were printed and many late impressions exist. Great care was taken with the cutting of the blocks on this set and only early impressions do them justice. Fine colour and condition. An impression that has not been in an album. Full margins. Signed Yoshitoshi.

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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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. (First issued by Kaga-ya Kichiyemon, c 1831, his seal just visible lower right corner.) Robinson S4b.4. A fine design.

 

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

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Kyusempo Sakucho (Chin: Suo Chao) 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.” 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. Shows the warrior wielding a huge axe and plunging through deep snow on his horse. He was renowned for being seven chi tall (just over seven and a half feet) and impetuous in battle, often charging ahead of his men – hence his nickname “Impatient Vanguard.” Published by Kaga-ya Kichiyemon, c 1827-30. Provenance: Ex B.W. Robinson collection. Robinson S2.44.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Full size (rare with designs from this set). Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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The warrior Hitentaisei Rikon (Chin: Li Gun) in armour and holding a hand spear (nage-yari) the use of which he excelled at. He scans 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.” 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 Kaga-ya Kichiyemon, c 1827-30. Robinson S2.21.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Full size (rare with designs from this set). Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Shows the warrior Chinsanzan Koshin (Chin: Huang Xin) holding the “Sword of Death.” His nickname was the “Guardian of the Three Mountains” because of his boast that he could easily eradicate the bandits from the three mountains in the Qingzhou region. . From the 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 Kaga-ya Kichiyemon, c 1827-30. Robinson S2.10.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Full size (rare with designs from this set). Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Shows the fearsome female warrior, Fujinoye, defending Takadachi Castle in 1189. In a rain of arrows she attacks Yemoto Juro and Nagasawa Uyemon-taro on the castle steps. From the set Honcho Suikoden goyu happyaku-nin no hitori, “Eight Hundred Heroes of our Country’s Suikoden, One by One.” Published by Kaga-ya Kichiyemon, c 1831. Robinson S4a.1.

 

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

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Shows Sasaki Saburo Moritsuna, holding a dirk in his mouth, and strangling the fisherman Fujidayu. From an untitled set published by Kawaguchi-ya Uhei, c 1825-30. The story revolves around Moritsuna bribing the fisherman to reveal the whereabouts of the shallows at Fujito, a strait separating Kojima from the mainland, and being 500 yards wide impossible for the troops to cross without boats to attack the Taira forces. The version depicted here shows Fujidayu being killed, rather than just bribed. Robinson Sia.6.

 

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

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Oji Shozoku enoki, Omisoka no kitsunebi, “Foxfires on New Year’s Eve at the Shozoku Hackberry Tree, Oji,” from Meisho Edo hyakkei, “The One Hundred Famous Views of Edo,” published by Uoya Eikichi 1856-58 (this being 1857). This is the only design from the set where Hiroshige uses historical fantasy: Every New Year’s Eve foxes gathered at the ancient enoki tree to pay their respects to their fox patron in the nearby Inari shrine at Oji, in northern Edo. The shrine was dedicated to the god of the harvests and farmers would predict the outcome of a harvest by the amount of kitsunebi (fox flames) they saw emitted by the foxes. A popular print from the set.

 

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

 

Status: Available

 

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Katsushika HOKUSAI (1760-1849)



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A sheet of original sumi drawings laid onto Japanese paper, 14 x 8 in; 35.5 x 20.1 cms.: Four being preliminary designs for the book: Ehon teikin orai, “Communication of Home Precepts” published in three volumes by Eijudo in 1828 (second and third vols n.d.). Together with a small study of a frog (with Hayashi seal). Provenance: Ex Hayashi collection, sold at the Hayashi sale, L’Hotel Drouot, 2nd June, 1902, lot 44. There exist drawings copied from these books. However, the drawings here show Hokusai indicating areas of, for example, foliage or flooring, which are then completed in detail by a pupil or block-copyist for the block-cutter. Obviously drawings copied from the book show these finished details. Laid around edges on old mount. Sold “as is” with minor imperfections.

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Katsushika HOKUSAI (1760-1849)



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A sheet of original sumi drawings laid onto Japanese paper, 13 x 8 in; 33 x 20.1 cms.: Four being preliminary designs for the book: Ehon teikin orai, “Communication of Home Precepts” published in three volumes by Eijudo in 1828 (second and third vols n.d.). Together with a study of persimmons. Provenance: Ex Hayashi collection, sold at the Hayashi sale, L’Hotel Drouot, 2nd June, 1902, lot 45. There exist drawings copied from these books. However, the drawings here show Hokusai indicating areas of, for example, foliage or flooring, which are then completed in detail by a pupil or block-copyist for the block-cutter. Obviously drawings copied from the book show these finished details. Laid around edges on old mount. Sold “as is” with minor imperfections.

 

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)



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A fanciful version of the Yoshino River scene in Act III from the play Imoseyama onna teikin, “The Teachings for Women.” Two families own estates on opposite sides of the Yoshino River. The son of one, Koganosuke, falls in love with the daughter, Hinadori, of the other oblivious of the fact that the two families are bitter enemies. The couple rather commit suicide than be separated. In fact, the play was performed at the Kawarasaki-za Theatre, 7/1801, although this does not depict the actual performance. Interestingly, the publisher’s seal is omitted which is exactly the same as two other impressions in MFA, Boston, acc. no 21.7783-5 and the Salt and Tobacco Museum in Japan.

 

Very good impression. Extremely good colour. Very good condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A triptych showing beauties carrying brine in yoked buckets to be made into salt. From a set Mu Tamagawa, Mutsu no kuni chidori no Tamagawa, “Six Jewel Rivers, Plover Jewel River in Mutsu Province.” Also known as the Noda Jewel River. Above, a flock of chidori. The Mu Tamagawa theme was popular in Japanese art. Published by Sanoya Kihei, 1847-8.
Very good impression. Slight fading, otherwise good colour. Very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A rare early Kuniyoshi triptych, Minamoto no Yorimitsu no Shitenno tsuchigumo taiji no dzu, showing Minamoto no Yorimitsu (Raiko) and his loyal retainers: 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 a 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. Published by Maru-ya Seijiro, c 1838. Robinson T46 and illustrated in colour, Kuniyoshi, B.W.Robinson, Phaidon 1982, plate 37.

 

Very good impression and colour. Minor creasing, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.Very good impression. Slight fading, otherwise good colour. Very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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Hana, “Flowers” from the set Setsugekka no uchi, “Snow, Moon, and Flowers.” Shows the actor Ichikawa Sadanji as Gosho no Gorozo. The main character in the play Soga moyo tateshi no goshozome, “The Story of Gorozo, the Chivalrous Commoner.” A convoluted plot (as usual) with the samurai Gorozu becoming an otokodate upon being expelled by his family because of an undesirable love affair. Gorozu ends up killing his old master’s lover, Oshu. Published by Akiyama Buemon, 1890. A fine set of bust portraits.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Yoshitoshi.

 

Status: Available

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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A triptych Gikeiki Gojobashi no zu, “Gojo Bridge in the Chronicles of Yoshitsune.” Shows Musashi-bo Benkei of herculean strength subdued by 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 tengu. Following Yoshitsune’s victory Benkei became Yoshitsune’s retainer. Published by Morimoto Junzaburo, 1881. One of Yoshitoshi’s best designs.

 

Very good impression and colour. Later editions lack the black outline around the moon and have clouds added. (Interestingly, a feature usually found on the earliest states of prints, but in this case the reverse.) Very good condition. Signed Taiso Yoshitoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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A triptych showing the Japanese Buddhist deity Fudo Myo-o, one of the five “Kings of Wisdom,” above the novitiate priest Yuten Shonin (1637-1718) about to consume the sword of wisdom thereby gaining supernatural wisdom and enlightenment. (Often miscatalogued as threatening him.) On the right is the goddess of mercy, Kannon. The scene is set in the Zojoji Temple where Shonin goes on to become the Abbot. Published by Akiyama Buemon, 1885.

 

Fine impression with the publisher’s details intact in the left border of last sheet – often trimmed off. Fine colour and condition. Signed Yoshitoshi.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A triptych showing Shoguntaro Taira Yoshikado (centre), his sister Takiyasha-hime (left), and Yoshikado’s retainer, Iga Jutaro, watching magic toads wrestling. Huge toads loom above them. Shogun Taro Yoshikado mikata wo atsumen ga tame etc. Takiyasha-hime was known for her toad magic which she had gained from a scroll containing their secrets given to her by her brother. Published by Tsuru-ya Kiyemon, 1842-3. Robinson T.89.

 

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

 

Status: Available

 

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