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 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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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 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.

 

 

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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 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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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.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A triptych showing the night attack in pouring rain by the brothers Juro Soga and Goro Soga on their father’s murderer Kudo Suketsune. They had waited 18 years for the opportunity which came in 1193 when there was a hunting party held at the base of Mount Fuji by the Shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo. Soga kyodai chichi no ada-uchi no zu. In the centre is Goro and on the left Juro. Above, the cloth panels with the paulownia crest of the Minamoto clan. Published by Sanoya Kihei, 1851-3.

 

 

Fine impression and colour. Slight trimming at top and residual glue at edge of centre sheet, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Kaneko Kugutsune (aka Okane, Kane-jo, and Omi no Okane) from the set Chuko meiyo kijin den, “Stories of Remarkable Persons of Loyalty and High Reputation.” Published by Iseya Ichiemon or Enshuya Matabei (this design) 1845. Robinson S35.5. Known as the Strong Woman of Omi, she is credited with subduing a runaway horse by holding its rein down with her geta. She is shown here with her washtub, the wild horse in the background.

 

 

Superb impression and colour. Very slight crinkling , trimmed close and some small wormage, otherwise fine condition. Signed Cho-o-ro Kuniyoshi ga.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A fine original sumi drawing (hanshita-e) for an unpublished print for the set Tokaido gojusan tsui, “Fifty-three Parallels for the Tokaido Road.” The set was published by various publishers in 1845-6 and was a collaboration with Kunisada and Hiroshige. Sumi on thin paper. This is a design for the lower half of the oban print, the top half having the title and a panel with the name of the post-station. Shows Yamato Takeru no Mikoto. A legendary prince, son of the Emperor Keiko. Shown here with his retainers.

 

 

In extremely good condition. Provenance: Purchased from me in 21/11/1975. Rare.

 

 

Status: Available

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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An o-tanzaku print, Yugao chapter from the fifty-four chapters of Genji, the Genji Monogatari. A tenth century romance written by Murasaki Shikibu. From a set Buyu nazoraye Genji, “Heroic Comparisons for the Chapters of Genji.” In this case showing Benkei creeping up on Ushiwaka on Gojo Bridge in 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 by Ibaya Sensaburo, c. 1843.

 

Fine impression and colour. Very good condition. Signed Cho-o-ro Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A triptych showing Fujiwara no Hidesato being accompanied by a retinue of fish, octopuses and lobsters as he leaves the Dragon King’s Palace with the presents of inexhaustible rice, bolts of cloth, and a bell in gratitude for killing the centipede of Mount Mikami. Ryugujo Tawara Toda Hidesato ni sanshu no tosan o okura. Published by Maruya Kyushiro, 1858.

 

Very good impression. Good colour. Some light toning and soil. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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The best design from a set of half-length otokodate figures: Kuniyoshi moyo shofuda tsuketari genkin otoko, “Men of Ready Money with True Labels Attached, Kuniyoshi Fashion.” Here showing Danshichi Kurobei emptying a bucket of water over himself. Danshichi was a fishmonger in the city of Sakai who murdered somebody in the mid-winterof 1697, the body only being discovered when the snow melted. He is often depicted pouring water over his head, although there are also versions where he commits the crime in a swamp. Published by Ibaya Kyubedi, 1845. Poem by Hoshitei.

 

 

Very good impression and colour. Slight trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

 

Status: Available

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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2 vols. complete: Kanjaku tsuizen hanashidori, “The Liberated Birds: A Memorial Book for Kanjaku.” A memorial book for the actor Nakamura Utaemon who died in 1852. He had the literary name of Kanjaku, meaning ”playing with sparrows” and the covers and many illustrations allude to this custom of releasing birds at funerals. Vol. 1: 1st preface , 3pp. giving the biography of Utaemon IV; poem 1p. 3 sheets: calligraphy (in ishizuri), 1p.; illustrations in colour, 5pp. signed on first page Toyokuni (III). Sheets 1-8: 2nd preface, 5pp., remaining pp. text, poems and colour illustrations. Sheets 1-75 with 15 single-page and 62 double-page illustrations in sumi and light colour. Inside back cover: colophon dated Kaei 5 (1852). Vol. 2: 110 sheets of text, poems, and illustrations. 38 single-page and 50 double-page illustrations (many in colour and includes a double-page illustration by Kuniyoshi). Last page, colophon, dated Kaei 5 (1852). Original covers with clouds and sparrows. Some soil and minor damage. One title slip missing and other damaged. Contents extremely good.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 




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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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An original fan painting, 6.5 x 17.5 in; 16.5 x 44.5 cms. Sumi and colour on treated paper. Shows a kappa appearing from the Sumidagawa and terrifying a man who runs for his life. Kappa were amphibious creatures found in rivers and ponds. Their bodies were covered with a horny carapace like a tortoise, with scaly legs and four frog-like webbed feet. They loved to wrestle and were known to attack humans – especially children, and horses. However, they could be tricked as they were very polite. If you bowed to a kappa he invariably bowed back, and as their source of power lay in a pool of water contained in a depression in the head, this would be spilt and they became immobilized. Laid around the edge onto Japanese board with the ribmarks evident as it has been dismounted from an ogi or folding fan. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga with hand-painted toshidama seal. Good condition.

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Yamamoto Kansuke striding through the snow. “Boar” from a set Mitate junishi, “Selection for the Twelve Signs.” Published by Ibaya Kyubei, c 1845. (Kansuke was famous for killing a giant boar in the snow.) Robinson S38.12.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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The fifteen year old Otani Furuinosuke killing a giant boar with his bare hands. From a set Honcho Suikoden goyu happyakunin no hitori, “One of the Eight Hundred Heroes of the Water Margin of Japan.” Published by Kagaya Kichiemon c 1831. This is the first edition: It was republished by Ibaya Sensaburo in 1845. Robinson S4a.14.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Travellers viewing Mount Asama. Usui-toge yori Asama o miru zu, “A View of Mount Asama from Usui Pass.” From Kuniyoshi’s best landscape set. Of the utmost rarity with most extant impressions differing. This and the impression in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, are similar, without the smoke coming from the cone of Asama (the most active volcano on Honshu). Other impressions are in: The British Museum, 1948, 0410, 0. 108, which has gradation up the left side of the mountain; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, JP 1424, which has gradation down from the summit; and Worcester Art Museum which is similar to the Mets, 1901. 692. Published by Yamaguchiya Tobei, c. 1836.

 

 

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

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A view of pilgrims bathing in the Roben waterfall at the Afuri (Shinto) shrine, Oyama in Segami Province. Oyama sekison otaki no zu. This happened during the summer months and was considered a purification ritual. Oyama is a sacred mountain near the Izu peninsula and a short distance from Kamakura and Enoshima. Kuniyoshi designed another oban of this subject as well as two triptychs. Published by Wakasaya Yoichi, 1839-40. It has been suggested that the tattooed figure, on the left, holding a lantern with Kuniyoshi inscribed on it may be Kuniyoshi himself.

 

 

Very good impression and colour. Slight centre fold and expertly repared wormage. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A triptych showing Shutendoji’s palace on Mount Oyeyama, Oyeyama fukujin shusei. Raiko (Minamoto no Yorimitsu) is charged by the Emperor Murakami with killing the evil Shutendoji who terrorizes the neighbourhood. He and his retainers infiltrate the castle and ply Shutendoji and his ogrish band with sake and dance for them. Eventually Shutendoji is so intoxicated he has to be carried to bed, whereupon Raiko and his followers attack and decapitate him. This is the episode most often depicted with the head flying through the air. Published by Kiya Sojiro, 1853.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A night scene illuminated by a band of light from a hand-lantern. Shows Ushiwaka-maru (Yoshitsune) battling with the outlaw priest Kumasada Chohan and his band of thieves who were attempting to rob the inn where Yoshitsune was staying. Published by Ibaya Sensaburo, c. 1839-41. A fine design.

 

 

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

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Jigoku Dayu, the “Hell Courtesan” from the set Chuko meiyo kijin den, “Stories of Remarkable Persons of Loyalty and High Reputation.” Published by Iseya Ichiemon or Enshuya Matabei (this design) 1845. Robinson S35.3. She was a courtesan who found enlightenment through the Buddhist monk Ikkyu. (The fly-whisk she holds denotes her enlightenment.) Sold to a brothel, she believed her misfortune was due to karma and is always depicted with robes depicting images of hell.

 

 

Very fine impression and colour. Very slight crinkling and trimmed close, otherwise fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

 

Status: Available

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Oho ( Wang P’ou ) visiting his mother’s tomb to comfort her during a thunderstorm. Shows peasants fleeing the zigzag lightning bolts. From a set of fourteen prints: Nijushi-ko doji kagami, “Mirror of the Twenty-Four Paragons of Filial Piety.” Published by Wakasa-ya Yoichi, c 1840. Each print shows an example of a child’s exemplary behaviour in looking after their aged parents There is a strong western influence in this set. Robinson S13.14.

 

Very good impression and colour. Slight centre fold, otherwise good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

Status: Available

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Gempei Yashima o-kassen, the great battle of Yashima in 1184. Shows Yoshitsune’s famous “eight-boat leap” (centre), Noritsune (left), and Benkei on the large boat (right). Published by Kawaguchiya Uhei, c. 1839-41.

 

Very good impression and colour. Edge repair top left sheet, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Available

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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Four cats, the first sheet of a triptych Tatoe zukushi no uchi, “Proverbs Illustrated by Cats.” Examples being: “Bonito to a cat,” “Coin to a cat,” “Not even a cat would eat it.” Published 1852 by Kagaya Yasubei. Bob-tailed and calico cats were common in the Edo period. It is well known that Kuniyoshi was a cat-lover and Yoshimune, one of his pupils, relates how they were allowed to run around his studio and when a cat died he would have it sent to a nearby temple. He also had a Buddhist altar erected in his home for his deceased cats. Another pupil of Kuniyoshi’s was Kyosai and he depicts the chaotic studio with cats and other artists milling around in his illustrated book Kyosai kadan, part II, vol. 3, of 1887. Of the utmost rarity: I have not catalogued another sheet from this triptych in 50 years.

 

Very fine impression and colour. One minor blemish, otherwise very fine condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga. (All the cats have blind-printing on their coats which is not apparent on the illustrated examples of this print. Possibly due to the reproductive process.)

 

Status: Sold

 

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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An uncut fan print from a series: Koumei matsu tsukushi, “ Famous Kinds of Pine.” A euphemism for young beauties. One here shown holding a cage for fireflies being caught by children in the background. Published by Maruya Jinpachi, 4/1854.

 

Fine impression, colour and condition. Signed Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)



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A chutanzaku print showing a tortoise, crab and dandelions from an untitled series of ten prints showing water creatures originally published two-to-a-sheet. Of the utmost rarity: Arguably the most difficult Kuniyoshi set to find. It appears there are only three other impressions known of this design: The Bidwell Collection, Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, illustrated in their catalogue, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1980, no 72 (60.D05.197); The Japan Ukiyoe Museum, uncut sheet with lobster and small fish, illustrated in Utagawa Kuniyoshi Exhibition Catalogue, 1996, p. 154, no. 208; and Kuniyoshi, Iwakiri Yuriko, Hotei publishing, 2013, p. 135, no. 109 (possibly from a French collection). This actual impression (making the fourth impression known) is illustrated in Kuniyoshi, Juzo Suzuki, 1992, no. 445. Ex collections J. Schedel (seal next to signature) and Sawai Suzuichi. This impression has no publisher’s seal nor does another design of a carp from the set illustrated in Heroes & Ghosts, Robert Schaap, Hotei publishing, 1998, p. 213, no 240. That is a very fine impression (as is this) and possibly they are proof impressions. Published by Tsujiokaya Bunsuke (Kinshodo), c 1837. For the full set illustrated see the Springfield catalogue mentioned above. Excessively rare.

 

Very fine impression with woodgrain showing on all blocks. Fine colour. Centre fold (evident if held to light), otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga with Yutaka seal.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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An extremely rare diptych, Shoki-san jaki ni sokko, “Shoki-San, Quick-Acting Medicine to Remove Evil Spirits.” Images of Shoki were used to ward off evil spirits and illness, especially during the Boys’ Festival. Published 1858 by Enshuya Hikobei. Provenance: Purchased from me in 1994.


Extremely fine impression. Fine colour and condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi fude with Yutaka seal.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A triptych Akazawa-yama o-sumo showing the most famous sumo match in Japanese history between Kawazu Saburo Sukeyasu and Matano Goro Kagehisa at Akazawa mountain. Also famous as Kawazu used a new sumo hold wrapping a foot around his opponent’s leg and encircling the neck with one arm, a manoeuvre that became known as the Kawazu hold. The event took place in 1176 before Shogun Minamoto Yoritomo where Kawazu defeats the popular bully Matano. Subsequently Kawazu was murdered, quite unrelated to the bout. His sons swear revenge and their story becomes the Soga monogatari. Kawazu is shown here throwing Matano to the ground, the referee to the left. Published 1858 by Maruya Kyushiro. Robinson T353. Provenance: Purchased from me in 1994.


Superb impression and colour. One small thinned area, otherwise very fine condition. Probably the finest impression extant of this famous design. Signed Kuniyoshi ga and Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A triptych showing the famous archer Minamoto no Yorimasa preparing to shoot the monster Nue on the roof of the Shishinden Palace. The story relates how in 1153 the sixteen year old Emperor Konoe was having difficulty sleeping due to the shrieks and scratchings emanating from the palace roof. Guards informed him that a black cloud descended there every night. Yorimasa was called upon to investigate and he brought down the beast – a composite creature, part monkey, badger, tiger, dragon and snake which was duly despatched by his retainer Hironao no Hayata (Tadazumi no Hayata). Subsequently Konoe sleeps soundly and rewards Yorimasa with a fine sword and a court beauty Yorimasa loves. An exceptional design published 1842-3 by Yamashiroya Shinroku. Robinson T112. Provenance: Purchased from me in 1994.


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

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Kwaido Maru (Kintoki) seizes Raijin, the Thunder God, with one hand while holding his thunder drums with the other. A thunderbolt falls to earth causing flashes of lightning. A fine and rare set: Honcho musha kagami, “Mirror of Warriors of our Country.” The set published by Tsujioka-ya Bunsuke, 1855. Robinson S87.6.


Fine impression. Slightly trimmed, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Hironao no Hayata (Tadazumi no Hayata), Yorimasa’s retainer (see the triptych by Kuniyoshi of the same subject on this update), grappling with the composite beast Nue on the roof of the Shishinden Palace. Forked lightning bounces around him. One of the best designs from Honcho Suikoden goyu happyaku-nin no hitori, “Eight Hundred Heroes of our Country’s Suikoden, One by One.” Published by Kagaya Kichiemon, 1830-31.


Very good impression and colour. Slight trimming, otherwise very good condition. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.

 

Status: Sold

 

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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A snow scene showing Nichiren struggling up a snow-covered mountain near Tsukahara on the Island of Sado. The best design from Koso goichidai ryakuza, the “Illustrated Abridged Biography of the Founder.” Nichiren being the founder of the Buddhist Nichiren sect (Nichiren shu – Kuniyoshi being a follower) and indeed the set of ten prints may have been commissioned to mark the 550th anniversary of his death. Published by Iseya Rihei, c. 1831. Like many great landscapes, there exist different states which causes confusion over which is the earliest. The version offered here has the mountain printed in brown. Other impressions keep the mountain white. The other basic difference is that the design is known with and without a horizon line and that there is at least one impression where the un-inked, blind-printed line can be seen in a raked light. It has been asserted that those impressions without are the earliest; however, it seems from this that the sumi block was probably cut initially with the line but the publishers thought that it looked aesthetically better without printing it, and it was subsequently removed. In any case, this is a rare print and most surviving examples appear to be similar in impression. There is a break in the border to the left of the bottom of Kuniyoshi’s signature which could give a guide to the earliest states, but as this is often painted in, it is not reliable. The composition is based on a design in the illustrated book Bumpo sansui gafu by Kawamura Bumpo, published posthumously in 1824.

 

 

Very good impression, colour and condition with splashed gofun. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi hitsu.

 

 

Status: Sold

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Utagawa KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)




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Aigo Gozayemon Hisamitsu (Haigo Gozaemon Hisamitsu) mounted and armoured (less helmet) in battle levelling his long spear. He was a retainer of the Oda family and served under Shibata Katsuiye. From the set Taiheiki yeiyuden, “Heroic Stories of the Taiheiki. A history of the wars of the loyalist Nitta and Kusunoki families against the Ashikaga war-lords during the second quarter of the fourteenth century. But in fact the subject of this set of fifty prints (this design numbered 43) is the civil war of the late 16th century. Censorship restrictions imposed in the 1840s prevented publishers from illustrating historical subjects from the Tensho era 1573-92 onwards, so the publishers circumvented this by slightly altering the names of the historical figures. Published 1848-9 by Yamamoto-ya Heikichi. Robinson S62.1. One of the best designs from the set.


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

 

Status: Sold

 

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