Okumura TOSHINOBU (Active c 1717-1750)


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An hosoban showing a young actor in the role of a peddler of Chinese medicine, an Uiro, in a scene called Uiro-uri. This role is associated with the Danjuro line and Danjuro II did perform it more than once. Published c 1720 by Emiya. Rare.

 

Good impression. Coloured by hand: mustard yellow, yellow, gold powder and heavy sumi over an embossed pattern. Possibly some fading, otherwise very good condition. Signed Yamato gwako Okumura Toshinobu hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Katsukawa SHUNKO (1743-1812)


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An hosoban showing the actors Ichikawa Danzo IV as Doi no Yataro (above) and Ichikawa Raizo II as Kojiro Masahira (below) in the play Kaomise Ama no Iwato, performed at the Nakamura-za theatre 11/1774. A fine design.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Shunko ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)



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A vertical triptych showing the actor Ichikawa Udanji I as the ghost of Sogo’s wife (Sogo tsuma no rei) carrying off Nakamura Kangoro XII as Yamazumi Goheita in the play Sakura Sogo den performed at the Haruki-za Theatre, 3/1893. Published by Fukuda Kumajiro.

 

Fine impression and colour. Slight toning and creasing, otherwise very good condition. Signed Osetsu Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Ippitsusai BUNCHO (Active c 1755-1790)




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Little is known of Buncho’s life. With Shunsho, he was the pre-eminent designer of actor hosoban producing them during the short period of 1766-1773. He also collaborated with Shunsho on the fine 3 vol. Ehon butai ogi in 1770. Shows the actor Nakamura Matsue I in an onnagata role holding a child beside a large bell. This is possibly Matsue playing Sakuragi, the wife of Munesada, in the play Kuni no Hana Ono no Itsumoji performed at the Nakamura-za Theatre in 11/1771. Provenance: Ex collection Ernest Le Veel. Sold lot 13, 3rd sale, Ader Picard Tajan, 5/11/1981. Seal au verso. Rare: Not listed in Exhibition Of Ukiyo-e By Ippitsusai Buncho, Riccar Art Museum, 1978.

 

 

Fine impression. Very good colour. Fine condition. Signed Ippitsusai Buncho ga with Mori uji seal.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Katsukawa SHUN’EI (1762-1819)




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The actor Segawa Kikunojo III in an unidentified onnagata role adjusting her hair in a mirror. Shun’ei was a gifted pupil of Katsukawa Shunsho. Designed many hosobans but also some fine bust portraits and was possibly the originator of this type of print. Published by Emiya Kichiemon c early 1790s. (This publisher is said to have been the first to exploit the kento mark for keying blocks.) Another impression is in the MFA Boston, 21.5998.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Slight toning, otherwise very good condition. Signed Shun’ei ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Katsukawa SHUNSHO (1726-1792)




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The actor Otani Hiroemon III in an unidentified role leaning forward with a sword in his mouth. Shunsho was a prolific designer of actor prints as well as views of the green room, wrestlers and bijin. He also collaborated with Kitao Shigemasa on the fine Seiro bijin awase sugata kagami of 1776. Published c 1770. Another (partially faded) impression is in the MFA Boston, 21.4148. A fine design.

 

 

Very good impression, colour and condition. Signed Shunsho ga with Hayashi/tsubo seal.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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An okubi-e showing the actor Arashi Hinasuke I as Fujiwara no Shihei. This was the Minister of the Left, the antagonist, in Sugawara denju tenarai kagami, “Sugawara’s Secrets of Calligraphy.” The set of “surimono-style” prints were published by Ebisuya Shoshichi between 1860 and 1869, the last 12 being by Yoshitora, and only 60 being completed by Kunisada before he died. The set is technically of the highest order and a fitting tribute to his life.

 

 

Fine impression with extensive burnishing. Very good colour and condition. Signed Nanajuhassai Toyokuni ga, “At the age of seventy-eight.”

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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A triptych showing from left to right the actors: Seki Sanjuro III as Nippon Daemon (above) and Ichimura Uzaemon XIII as Benten Kozo Kikunosuke. Centre: Nakamura Shikan IV as Nango Rikimaru. Right: Iwai Kumesaburo III as Akaboshi Juzaburo (above) and Kawarasaki Gonjuro I as Tadanobu Rihei. The group of five dandy-thieves in Aoto zoshi hana no nishiki-e or Shiranami gonin otoko. A famous play written by Kawatake Mokuami, this being the first performance at the Ichimura-za Theatre in 3/1862. Published 3/1862 by Seibundo (Gifuya Seishichi). An extremely rare and early work: Not listed in Keyes.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Slightly trimmed around, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)




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Strange Wind from a set of actor prints Seiu kandankei, “A Barometer of Emotions.” A fine set published by Okura Magobei 1876-7. Shows Onoe Kikugoro V as the ghost of the cormorant fisherman Kansaku. He had poached fish from the sacred waters of the Isawa River and was caught and executed. His restless spirit caused Nichiren to pray for him and pacify the ghost. It was the subject of a famous play: Nichiren shonin minori no umi. Kikugoro was a personal friend of Yoshitoshi. One of Yoshitoshi’s best actor prints.

 

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed (in kana) Oju Yoshitoshi hitsu.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Katsukawa SHUN’EI




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An hosoban showing Iwai Hanshiro IV in a “Shibaraku” role, probably as Akita Jonosuke Yoshikage from the play Mieiko nori no hachi no ki performed at the Kawarazaki Theatre in the 11th month, 1791. The highly stylised and dramatic Shibaraku costume gave rise to some of the best ukiyo-e designs. Originally staged by Ichikawa Danjuro I in 1697, it quickly gained popularity and was included in the kaomise celebrations at Edo theatres. Published by Harimaya Shinshichi. Ex Beres collection, sold Paris 2002, lot 39.

 

 

Fine impression, very good colour and condition. Beres seal au verso. Signed Shun’ei ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Torii KIYONOBU II (1706-1763)




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An hosoban showing the actors Ichimura Uzaemon VIII (above) and Segawa Kikujiro I in an onnagata role. Published by Emiya Kichiemon, c. 1746. Another impression in the MET (JP831), listed as Kiyonobu I.

 

 

Very good impression. Good colour and condition. Signed Torii Kiyonobu hitsu.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Torii KIYOMITSU (1735-1785)




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An hosoban benizuri-e print in beni, yellow and blue showing the actor Segawa Kikunojo II (bottom left) in the role of musume Kagekiyo and Ichimura Uzaemon IX (top right) as Osu…, possibly Osutoko. Musume means “daughter”, while Kagekiyo was the famous general of the Heike clan. However, if Kikunojo were playing Kagekiyo’s daughter then it would be written Kagekiyo musume. (His daughter was named Hitomaru and she does indeed feature in many plays about him.) But in this case, it perhaps refers to a female version of Kagekiyo’s daughter after all and it’s just written the other way round for some reason, then it would identify the performance and date nicely: the play would be Soga yawaragi Soga performed at the Ichimura-za Theatre in the 1st month of 1767. Published by Nishimura, Eijudo han. Extremely rare. (Many thanks to Paul Griffith for the elucidation above.)

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Slight vertical fold and small expertly restored wormhole near bottom edge. Signed Torii Kiyomitsu ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Katsukawa SHUNSHO (1726-1792)




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An hosoban showing the actor Ichikawa Danjuro V as a blacksmith forging a sword blade. An unidentified role published c. 1780.

 

 

Fine impression. Very good colour and condition. Signed Shunsho ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNISADA II (1823-1880)




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The actor Segawa Kikunojo V in the role of Ama Myochin, the Cat Witch, from the set Hakkenden inu no soshi no uchi, the Eight Dog Heroes, published by Tsutaya Kichizo, 5/1852. The play was premiered at the Ichimura-za Theatre, 1/1852. This is the highlight of the play: The monstrous cat murders the father of the dog hero Inamura Kakutaro and then assumes his likeness. However, as shown here, its hairy body and giant claws can still be seen behind the bamboo curtain. The best design from the set.

 

 

Very fine impression with blind printing and burnishing. Fine colour and condition. This is the only full size impression I have seen as they almost always come from albums and are trimmed to the common denominator. Another (trimmed) impression is illustrated full page in Japanese Prints IV- Hiroshige and the Utagawa school – Rijksprentenkabinet/Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1984, no. 180, page 105. Signed Ichiyosai Kunisada ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)




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The actor Nakamura Utaemon II playing two roles (out of seven), Nana yaku no uchi, which are: the Manzai street entertainer Tsuchiemon (seated) and Kudayu’s daughter Okumi, in the play Chushin koshaku performed at the Nakamura-za Theatre, 7/1812.

 

 

Very good impression and colour. Minor creasing, otherwise very good condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)




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The actors Matsumoto Koshiro V (right) as the barber Nagata Taro; in reality Kamada Masakiyo, and Segawa Michinosuke I as Genkichi’s wife, Osoro; in reality Nagata’s younger sister, in the play Wakazakari Heike Monogatari, performed at the Ichimura-za Theatre, 11/1806. Published by Hachi.

 

 

Very good impression and colour. Minor creasing, otherwise very good condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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A fine triptych showing the actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX in Shibaraku role. Kabuki juhachiban no uchi: shibaraku, “The Eighteen Famous Kabuki Plays: Shibaraku.” Published by Fukuda Kumajiro, 8/1895. Illustrated on the front cover of Time Present and Time Past: Images of a Forgotten Master: Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900). Amy Reigle Newland. Hotei publishing, 1999.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Album backing, otherwise fine condition. Signed Oju Kunichika hitsu.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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A vertical diptych showing the actor Onoe Baiko III in the role of the vengeful and disfigured spirit of Kasane above Sawamura Tossho I as her husband Kinoshitagawa Yoemon. From the play Kuruwa kruwa date no ooyose performed at the Ichimura-za theatre 1836. Published by Kawaguchiya Chozo, 1836. Extremely rare.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Very good condition. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)




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A vertical triptych showing Onoe Kikugoro as Okiku’s ghost; Ichikawa Danjuro IX as the daimyo Aoyama Tessan, and Onoe Kikujiro V and Onoe Matsusuke V as his retainers in the play Sarayashi kesho no sugatami, “Mirror of the House of Blue Dishes.” Performed at the Kabuki-za Theatre, 10/1892. There are two versions of the story: In one, the mistress of the house breaks a valuable blue and white Dutch plate, hiding it in a well and blaming the maid-servant Okiku, who then commits suicide in the well. In the other, Okiku refuses to become Aoyama’s mistress who hides the plate and threatens to accuse her of theft. She throws herself into the well. But in both cases Okiku’s ghost comes back to haunt Aoyama. Published by Fukuda Kumajiro, 1892.

 

 

Very fine impression and colour. Very small nicks out of top margin, otherwise fine condition. Full, untrimmed size. Signed Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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The actor Danjuro VIII as the ghost of Seigen from a set of prints Mitate sanjurokkasen no uchi, “An Imaginary Thirty-six Poets” published by Iseya Kanekichi in 1852. The relevant poet in this case is Ariwara no Narihira. The corrupt priest Seigen broke his vows of chastity when he fell in love with Sakurahime. Danjuro played this role in the play Yami no ume yume no tamakura, in the New Year’s programme at the Kawarazaki theatre, Edo, in 1/1853.

 

 

Very fine early impression with glue applied to the eyes. Fine colour and condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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The actor Ichikawa Kodanji IV in the role of the vengeful and disfigured spirit of Kasane (Kasane no Bokon) from a set of prints Mitate sanjurokkasen no uchi, “An Imaginary Thirty-six Poets” published by Iseya Kanekichi in 1852. The relevant poet in this case is Fujiwara Toshiyuki no Ason.

 

 

Very fine early impression with glue applied to the eyes. Fine colour and condition. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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

 

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

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)



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A triptych showing the actor Ichikawa Sandanji I as Akiyama Kiimori amidst an intense conflagration started in an attempt to capture him, Yakuchi no ba. From the series Meiijiza shinkyogen, “New Plays from the Meiji Theatre.” Published by Akiyama Buemon , 1894.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. The sheets joined. Signed Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Taiso YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)



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The actor Onoe Kikugoro V as Aoyagi Harunosuke from a fine and rare set of 14 actor prints: Seiu kandankei, “A Barometer of Emotions.” This being Full Tide. The set published by Okura Magobei, 1877. Presumably showing Kikugoro in the play Shianui Monogatari written by Ryukatei Tanekazu; Ryutei Tanehiko II; and Ryusuitei Tanekiyo. The actor was a great friend of Yoshitoshi.

 

Very good impression and colour. Slight soil and creasing, otherwise good condition. Signed Oju Yoshitoshi hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900)



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A full-on image of the actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX as Kamakura Gongoro Kagemasa in the Shibaraku play with the voluminous costume associated with the role. Title: Kabuki juhachiban no uchi/Shibaraku, “The Eighteen Famous Kabuki Plays:Shibaraku.” Kunichika made a number of prints, single, diptych and triptych, of this subject but this particular design is rare. Published by Mizuno Asajiro, c. 1895.

 

Very good impression and colour. Background partly blind-printed. Slight trimming losing publishing information on left edge of last sheet and slight soil. Otherwise good condition. Signed Oju Toyohara Kunichika hitsu.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Katsukawa SHUN’EI (1762-1819)



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A hosoban diptych complete showing Ichikawa Monnosuke II ( left sheet ) as Soga no Goro and Sawamura Sojuro III ( right sheet ) as Soga no Juro in the play Shunshoku Edo-e Soga performed at the Ichimura-ya in the first month of 1791. Published by Harimaya Shinshichi. Most hosoban multiples have become separated over time.

Very good impression, colour and condition. Completely untrimmed. Signed Shun’ei ga.

Status: Sold

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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: Sold

 

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1821)




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The actor Ichikawa Omezo I in the role of Hannya no Goro in a Shibaraku scene. Part of the play Monomiguruma yuki no takadono performed at the Morita-za Theatre, 11/1810. Published by Kawachiya Genshichi. A striking design.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Small expertly repaired binding holes at top, otherwise fine condition. Full size. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Kitao SHIGEMASA (1739-1820)


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A hosoban showing the actors Ichikawa Komazo II (above right) in the role of Honcho Tsunagoro and Otani Hiroemon II (below) as Hantoki Kuroemon. The play was the second item (nibanme) on the programme which came after the first play Hatsuakinai omise Soga performed at the Nakamura-za Theatre, Spring 1767. The shop sign behind the actors reads Kinoeneya. Published by Miyaji, 1767.

 

Fine impression. Slight fading, otherwise very good colour and condition. Signed Kitao Shigemasa ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Ryusai SHIGEHARU (1803-1853)



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The actor Nakamura Utaemon III as the ghost of Taira no Tomomori in the play Yoshitsune senbon zakura, “Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees.” Famous for tying himself to an anchor and jumping into the sea at the battle of Dan-no-Ura (1185). Performed at the Kado Theatre, 5/1831. An Osaka print published by Wataya Kihei.

 

Fine impression and colour. Very good condition. Signed Gyokuryutei Shigeharu ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa NOBUKATSU (Active 1824-1841)



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An Osaka print showing the actor Onoe Baiko III as Kan Shojo (Sugawara Michizane) in the play Sugawara denju tenarai kagami, “Sugawara and the Secrets of Calligraphy.” Performed at the Takeda Theatre, 3/1830. This is the famous Mt. Tempai scene from the play. Published by Tenmaya Kihei. Shows Kan Shojo transformed into the Thunder God wreaking revenge on his enemies.

 

Fine impression and colour. Crease near right edge, otherwise very good condition. Signed Tessai Nobukatsu ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI (1769-1825)


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An actor portrait showing Matsumoto Koshiro V (standing) in the role of Banzui Chobei and Bando Mitsugoro III as Shira Gonpachi next to a kago in Sakurada Jisuke I’s play Banzuin Chobei shojin manaita. Performed at the Nakamura-za 7/8/1803. Published by Nishimuraya Yohachi.

 

Very good impression and condition. Grey ground. Almost perfect colour. Signed Toyokuni ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Torii KIYOMITSU (1735-1785)




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An hosoban showing the actor Ichimura Uzaemon IX in the role of Hanako performing the famous dance in Musume Dojoji, “The Maiden at Dojoji Temple.” Hanako is allowed to dance before the new bell at the temple only to reveal herself as the spirit of Kiyohime who killed the priest Anchin hidden beneath the first bell. Published by Nishimuraya Yohachi c 1765.

 

 

Fine impression. Very good colour and condition. Signed Torii Kiyomitsu ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Katsukawa SHUNSHO (1726-1792)




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An hosoban showing the actor Otani Hiroji III wearing a red straw cape in the snow and holding aloft a crystal ball. An unidentified role published c. 1775. Evidently Hiroji was very popular with female theatre-goers.

 

 

Very good impression and colour. Minor soil and wear, otherwise very good condition. Signed Shunsho ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)



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Onoe Baiko III (Kikugoro III) as the vengeful ghost of Kasane appearing to haunt her husband Yagoro who had murdered her after getting tired of her ugliness. From the play Kuruwa kuruwa date no oyose performed at the Ichimura Theatre 2/1836. Title: Kokon misou kufu no yurei, “Famous Ghosts of the Past and Present.”

 

Very fine impression. Fine colour. Slight centre fold, otherwise fine condition. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa TOYOKUNI I (1769-1825)




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Shows the actor Onoe Shoroku I as Osakabehime, Princess Osakabe, a phantom who haunted the battlements of Himeji Castle. The character appeared in the play Matazoro Shoroku Osakabe banashi performed at the Ichimura-za Theatre from 22/5/1814. But this is probably a shini-e published the following year as it bears the information that Shoroku was 71 when he died (10/1815). Shoroku was renowned for his ghost roles. Published by Yamaguchiya Tobei who also published an impressive Kunisada vertical diptych of the same subject in 1814.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1864)




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The actor Ichikawa Danjuro VII in the drama Shibaraku. He is seen in his voluminous robe with the large Sansho (three square) motif which was the symbol of the Danjuro acting clan. The origins of the drama go back to Danjuro I in 1697 although there have been changes over the centuries. It is not a play as such but a scene which lasts about 50 minutes and is inserted during interludes. Evidently Shibaraku, which translates as “Wait a minute” or “Stop a moment,” was first dramatically shouted by Danjuri I when his fellow thespians forgot or refused his cue to enter and take to the hanamichi, “flower path” set at right angles to the stage. It became so popular that it was included in the kaomise, “face-showing” performances every year. Published by Kawaguchiya Shozo, c. 1830.

 

 

Very good impression, colour and condition. Signed Gototei Kunisada ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Torii KIYOMITSU (1735-1785)




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An hosoban benizuri-e showing the actor Ichimura Uzaemon IX as Soga no Goro Tokimune, brandishing a club, and riding to avenge the murder of his father by Kudo Suketsune. Published c. 1768. (The publisher’s seal may be on the underside of the horse.) Kiyomitsu was the second son of Kiyomasu II.

 

 

Very good impression and colour. Light album backing, otherwise very good condition. Signed Torii Kiyomitsu ga.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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An interesting and rare Kuniyoshi triptych showing actors relaxing in a busy teahouse. In fact this group appeared in the play Sumidagawa tsui no kagamon performed at the Ichimura-za Theatre from the 3/3/1852. Left sheet: Suzuki Mondo just stepping into the room dressed in a blue and white yukata played by Sawamura Chojuro V. Other actors are Nakamura Kanemon , Nakamura Kantaro and Arashi Jitohachi III. Centre sheet: The courtesan Shiraito of the Hashimoto-ya standing right played by Bando Shuka I. Another actor Nakamura Kamenojo. Right sheet: The thug Tsukubane Sanpei seated holding a cup played by Otani Tomoemon IV and Oyaso, Mondo’s wife, seated by an hibachi played by Onoe Kikujiro II. Another actor being Bando Matataro. Published by Yamaguchiya Tobei, 1852.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Sold

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Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839-1892)


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A complete diptych showing the huge figure of the actor Ichimura Uzaemon XIII as Kozo Kikunosuke , a young thief, fighting the police on the roof of the Gokuraku-ji Temple. This is the culmination and Act V of the play Benten Kozo performed at the Ichimura-za Theatre, March 1862. Published by Shobundo, 3/1862. Rare: not listed in Keyes.

 

Fine impression and colour. Very lightly backed, otherwise fine condition. Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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