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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.

 

Status: Available

 


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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.

 

Status: Available

 

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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.

 

Status: Available

 

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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.

 

Status: Available

 

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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.

 

Status: Available

 

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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.

 

Status: Available

 

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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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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.

 

Status: Available

 

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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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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Nihonbashi no hakuu, “Light Rain on Nihon Bridge.” From a Toto meisho set of 21 designs published between c. 1832 and 1839 by Kikakudo. The set was subsequently enlarged. Shows figures crossing Nihonbashi in rain, one figure carries an umbrella with the publisher’s name. Warehouses in the background and a distant view of Fuji. A beautiful print and very difficult to find in early impression: The title cartouche had a plug inserted beside the bottom three characters of the title on the left. This damage seems to have occurred when the block was cut and over time the spigot gradually slipped out leaving an unprinted area (which is sometimes painted in). In the earliest impressions the plug is hardly visible (as here). Also, the publisher’s seal at the bottom right should be in red, later editions having it in black. There was also an early variant edition with a yellow sky.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Imperceptible centre fold, also near the right edge, otherwise very good condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)



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Susaki yuki no hatsuhi, “Snow on New Year’s Day at Susaki” from a Toto meisho “Famous Places in the Eastern Capital” set of ten prints published c. 1831-2 by Kawaguchiya Shozo. Hiroshige’s first oban landscape set with some outstanding designs. Fukagawa Susaki was a spit of land along Edo Bay. (Also the subject of the Eagle design, Jumantsubo Fukagawa Susaki, from the One Hundred Views of Edo later on.) The first editions, as here, have decorative borders adding a western element into the designs. These were removed on later editions. Extremely rare in this state.

 

Fine impression and colour. Very minor edge soil and slight centre fold, otherwise very good condition. Prints from this set are often missing or have the publisher’s name and address on the right border trimmed. Signed Ichiyusai Hiroshige ga. (The last set to be signed like this.)

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa KUNITORA (Active early 19th c.)




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An aiban yoko-e print from an extremely rare and fine set of prints published 1810s by Yamasho. Kunitora’s finest set. Hira bosetsu, “Evening Snow at Mount Hira” from a set Omi hakkei, “Eight Views of Omi.” The set employs strong Western elements with hatching and sinuous hills and houses. Four designs from the set are illustrated in The Western-Style Colour-Prints In Japan, Usaburo Toyama, 1936, nos. 180-183 (this design being 182). A wonderful design.

 

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Oxidation on the title label. Signed Kunitora ga.

 

 

Status: Reserved

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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Tosa, kaijo katsuo tsuri, “Tosa [Province], Bonito Fishing at Sea.” From a set of 69 prints [Dai Nihon] Rokujuyoshu meisho zue, “Famous Places in the Sixty-odd Provinces [of Japan]” published by Koshihei between 1853 and 1856, this being 1855. Tosa, located on the southern coast of the island of Shikoku, was famous for its bonito.

 

 

Very fine impression of the first edition. Fine colour and condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

 

Status: Available

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE II (1826-1869)



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Mino Ochiai-bashi. Mino (Noshu) Province from the “Hundred Views of Famous Places in the Provinces.” An uncompleted set of 81 prints published by Uoya Eikichi between 1859 – 1861 (this being 1861). An evening rain scene with figures making their way across the torrential Chitose River, famous for its fishing.

 

 

Very fine impression of the first edition. Fine colour and condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI II (1777-1835)




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An aizuri (blue) print from a set Tosei bijin hana-awase, “Beauties of the Latest Fashion Compared to the Beauty of Flowers.” In this case kikyo flowers – the Chinese bellflower. Aizuri prints were the outcome of avoiding intermittent edicts promulgated by the bakufu prohibiting the number of blocks that could be used. The aim being to curb excesses, raise moral standards and encourage thrift. Published by Shimizo, c. late 1820s. Three other prints from set are in the Brooklyn Museum of Art, 76.151.13; 14; 15.

 

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

 

Status: Available

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A mitate (imaginary) triptych showing, from left to right: Onoe Kikugoro III as Takehara Genpachi; Ichikawa Ebizo V as Omura Gengo; Iwai Tojaku as Fujinami. The actors surrounding a handscroll that is emitting strong bands of light. Published by Edoya Matsugoro, c. late 1830s.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Album backing and joined sheets, otherwise fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

 

Status: Available

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Utagawa KUNIMARO (Active 1850-1875)




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An oban showing Jiraiya (Ogata Shuma Hiroyuki), a ninja who was able to transmogrify himself into a giant toad. His arch enemy was Orochimaru, a master of serpent magic, who is seen here as a giant snake. Jiraiya kills the snake with his heavy o-zutsu, hand cannon. Based on a multi-volume book by Mizugakiya Egao, Jiraiya goketsu Monogatari, it went on to be a very successful Kabuki play performed at the Kawarazaki-za Theatre in 7/1852 with Ichikawa Danjuro VIII playing Jiraiya. Published by Daikokuya Heikichi, 8/1852.

 

 

Very fine impression. Fine colour. Slightly trimmed at bottom, otherwise very good condition. Signed Kunimaro ga.

 

 

Status: Available

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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The death of the Daimyo Imagawa Yoshimoto (1519-60) by Oda Nobunaga during the battle of Okehazama which was fought at night during an intense downpour and was the culmination of the feud between the Imagawa and Oda clans. The battlefield is now a park and a national historical site. The best design from a set Yobu hakkei, “Military Brilliance of the Eight Views.” Each print relates to the famous Eight Views theme, in this case Narumi yau, “Night Rain at Narumi.” Published by Enshuya Hikobei, 1852.

 

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Full size with extra paper left and top, which is unusual as these prints are normally trimmed from albums. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

 

Status: Available

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE (1797-1858)




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A pheasant on a snow-covered pine. Published by Kawaguchi Shozo, c. 1830s (seal top left).

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Minimal trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Hiroshige hitsu.

 

 

Status: Available

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Kawanabe KYOSAI (1831-1889)




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A large original painting, full colour on silk, image size 48 x 21.75 in; 122 x 55.25 cms. A draughtsman of great dexterity with a wild, often bizzare , imagination. Loved sake, sometimes painting under its influence. At an early stage studied under Kuniyoshi, then Maemura Towa and later Kano Chinshin before becoming an independent painter at 27. Adept at highly finshed paintings but also produced a large corpus of spontaneous paintings. Shows a standing courtesan with her kamuro. An homage to Hokusai whom he obviously admired.

 

Highly finished in places but also incorporating quirky elements of Hokusai’s style. Signed Hokusai hitsu-i (“Imitating Hokusai’s brush”) Shojo Kyosai. In very good condition with old double box with an untranslatable annotation on inside of lid comparing him to Hokusai. An important new discovery.

 

Status: Available




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Kitagawa FUJIMARO (1790-1850)


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An original painting, full colour on silk, image size 35.25 x 13.5 in; 89.5 x 34.5 cms. Fujimaro was a talented late pupil of Utamaro. More than a dozen paintings are recorded by him including an example in the Portland Art Museum, acc. number 69.51. His best-known work is in the collection of the Tokyo National Museum depicting Yujyo risshi-zu and another four paintings of beauties in the four seasons is in the collection of the Ota Memorial Museum of Art, Tokyo. Shows a standing courtesan beside a vase containing peonies and cherry blossom. On her sumptuous costume are the black wheels of a hanaguruma, “flower cart.” These vehicles carried baskets with often elaborate arrangements of flowers. It seems more than coincidence that the vase is placed where the basket would have been on the cart.

 

Painted c 1820. Signed Fujimaro with seal Yozan. Newly remounted and in fine condition with new box and futo-maki (thick wooden roll to preserve the painting from damage).

 

Status: Available

 


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Mori SOSEN (1747-1821)



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An original painting, sumi and light colour on silk, image size 8 x 10.75 in; 20.5 x 27.5 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 (as here). 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 a Japanese Chin. These small dogs are supposed to have been introduced to the Japanese court from China early on but their distinctive features were developed in Japan. Signed Sosen with seals Shusho. In very good condition.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)



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A courtesan biting on a tissue about to write a love letter from the set Ukiyoe jinsei tengankyo, “Types of the Floating World Seen Through a Physiognomist’s Glass.” The glass top right. These professionals who purported to look at people’s features and give counsel based on their countenance were called Ninsomi or simply Somi. This set of ten prints showing different female personalities have their characteristics written up above. Utamaro produced two fine sets based on this theme in 1792-4 and c 1802: Fuji ninso jupon and Bijin gomenso. The clenching of the tissue is always an indication of arousal. Published c 1830 by Moriya Jihei (Kinshindo).

 

Fine impression with blind-printing. Fine colour. Small repaired binding holes and very slight trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa HIROSHIGE II (1826-1869)



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The Dragon’s Maw Mountain, Bizen Province, Bizen tatsu-no-kuchiyama from an unfinished set Shokoku meisho hyakkei, “One Hundred Views of Famous Places in the Provinces” published by Uoya Eikichi between 1859 and 1861 (this being 1860). Shows a lone figure battling a heavy rainstorm in a steep-sided canyon.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Hiroshige ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)



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

 

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

 

Status: Available

 

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Keisai EISEN (1790-1848)



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An amorous couple beside a screen decorated with a large chrysanthemum. From a set of twelve prints Keisei higo, “Secret Words of a Courtesan” published c 1822-25. Although coming under the heading of shunga, each print is an abuna-e design, without any graphic detail. Shows a courtesan with her client. She turns to tie the iwata-sash which indicates she is pregnant.

 

Fine impression. Very fine colour. Fine condition.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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The brigand Saginoike Heikuro Masatora plunging a short sword into a giant boar. He is usually depicted battling a giant snake. Published c 1834-5 by Sanoya Kihei. Republished by Uedaya Kyujiro. Robinson S1c.17.

 

Very good impression and colour. The title label at extreme left edge trimmed and slight centre fold, otherwise good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1812-1866)



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The actor Ichikawa Kodanji IV as Torii Matasuke clenching a sword between his teeth in pouring rain. From the play Kagamiyama gonichi no Iwafuji performed at the Ichimura Theatre, 3/1860. The plot centres around Lord Taga who is disloyal to his wife Lady Ume with Oryu. One of Taga’s retainers, Motome, advises him against his actions and is dismissed. Meanwhile Oryu and her husband plan to take over Taga’s domain so a plot is hatched to kill her. However, Motome’s faithful servant, Matasuke, murders Lady Ume by mistake. The design shows Matasuke just prior to his mistake. Published by Kaku-Kin (Kakumotoya Kinjiro), 1860.

 

Fine impression and colour. Some minute restored binding holes and very slight trimming on right, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Shunkosai HOKUEI (FL. 1829-1837)



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A dramatic diptych showing the actor Iwai Shijaku I as Lady Osuma shining her lantern on the actor Bando Jutaro as Sasaya Hanbei from the play Honobonoto ura no asagiri, “Daybreak Hidden on the Bay by Morning Fog.” A revenge drama performed at the Naka no Shibai, Osaka, 9/1832. Hanbei is an accomplice of the villain in the play, Karahashi Daisuke. The confrontation takes place immediately after he has murdered the fiancée of the play’s hero, Kowari Dennai, by throwing her off a cliff. He makes his escape by throwing shuriken (star-shaped throwing blades) at Osuma.

 

Very fine impression. This is a de-luxe edition of the first state “surimono-style.” The hand-stamped block cutter’s seal “surimono cut by Kasuke” bottom left of second sheet. A later edition missing seal was published by Iden. Fine colour with burnished pattern on Osuma’s costume and the poem above is written in metallic pigment. Fine condition. Signed Shunkosai Hokuei ga with seal fumoto no yuki.

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1812-1866)



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A diptych showing the strong woman Oiko of Takashima. The story tells how the wrestler Saeki Urinaga spies her one day fetching water from the river. He lecherously reaches for her only to have his arm pinned down by her as she nonchalantly carries on walking. She leads him home for a wrestling match. From a set Shinsen azuma nishikie, published by Tsunashima between 1885 and 1889 (this being 1889).

 

Fine impression and colour. Light album backing, otherwise very good condition. Signed Yoshitoshi.

 

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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, Yamatohime, 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. Very slight crease bottom margin of centre sheet, otherwise fine condition. Signed Taiso Yoshitoshi.

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A triptych showing the famous battle on Gojo Bridge. 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. He meets Ushiwaka Maru (Minamoto no Yoshitsune’s childhood name) and challenges him to a fight on the bridge. Yoshitsune is aided by Sojobo, King of the Tengu (white-bearded in the centre) and other yamabushi tengu. Benkei loses the fight and becomes Yoshitsune’s loyal retainer. Published by Enshuya Hikobei, 1847-50. Robinson T194.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. A lovely copy of this triptych. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

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Utagawa YOSHITSUYA (1822-1866)



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A triptych with title Taiheike Yakiyama-Goye no zue, “Picture of the Slope of Burning Mountain in the Taiheiki.” Shows the Japanese Daimyo Sato Masakiyo (Kato Kiyomasa), who was a leading general in Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s invasion of Korea, far left, and his men encountering a monstrous serpent surrounded by bats, tengu and flying goblins on a haunted mountain. Published by Kagaya Kichibei, 1861.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. A lovely copy of this triptych. Signed Ichieisai Yoshitsuya ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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