JAPANSE HOUTSNEDEN - ORIGINEEL

( JAPANESE WOODBLOCK PRINTS - ORIGINAL )

Musha-e  武者絵  ( Warrior Prints )

Shunga, Japanese woodblock print, Hokusai, Kunisada, Utamaro, Kuniyoshi. Harunobu, Koryusai, Eisen.Utagawa school,Torii,Octopus.

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Musha-e  武者絵  ( Warrior Prints )

 

 

 

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Spectacular Warrior Triptych – Samurai’s In The Waves – Yoshitsune – 

Kiyochika – c.1882.

 

Kobayashi Kiyochika  小林 清親

Spectacular Warrior Triptych – Samurai’s In The Waves – Yoshitsune – Kiyochika – c.1882.


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Description:
Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915). 
Musha-e
(Prints featuring warriors). Date: c.1882. Triptych size (each panel): 14 1/5” x 9 2/5” inches. 
Title: ‘The Battle of Dan no Ura From History of Japan.’ Fine impression, color and very good condition. 
Some minor wrinkling, two very small thinning spots, minor marks and flaws.

“A very exciting image of the sea battle at Dan no Ura. It shows the legendary Yoshitsune (the center panel) who is executing his fabulous ‘eight boat leap’ in the heat of battle. Kiyochika really captures the tension of the scene with the giant green menacing waves surrounding the warriors and the hostile ships in the background.”

The sea battle at Dan no Ura was the climax of an all decisive war of who would conquer Japan for the next 700 years. The two opposing parties, the Minamoto and the Taira clans fighting each other with fleets off the coast of Japan in 1185. The Taira were accompanied by the 7 year old Emperor Antoku and his family; the Minamoto were headed by the mythical warrior Minamoto no Yoshitsune. The crucial moment in this brutal battle came when one of the Taira generals surrendered and identified the ship containing the young Emperor and his family. Archers of the Minamoto clan shot their arrows at the flagship, sending it off course. Foretelling their defeat, the child emperor and his ancestor jumped to their deaths saying,”In the depths of the ocean we have a capital.” Then began the largest mass suicide (seppuku) in the history of the samurai.

Kiyochika’s highly realistic style of this popular subject really draws the spectator into the scene !


 

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Very Rare Musha-e – The Fearless Swordsman Ariô Maru Fighting An Octopus

Utagawa Kuniyoshi  歌川 国芳  – c.1834.

 

 

Ario-maru 有王丸

Very Rare Musha-e – The Fearless Swordsman Ariô Maru Fighting An Octopus - Kuniyoshi – c.1834.


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Description:
Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). 
Musha-e
(Prints depicting warriors). Date: c.1834-35. Signed: Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.
Title: ‘Ario-maru’. Publisher: Kawaguchi-ya Chôzô. Censor seal: Kiwame. 
Oban tate-e size: 14 1/2” x 10” inches. Very good impression, color and condition.
Slightly faded otherwise minor marks and flaws only. Almost full size.

“Ariô Maru on the sea-shore, sword in hand, struggling with a gigantic octopus while on his way
to Kikai-jima  in quest of his exiled master Shunkwan (1177).Kuniyoshi’s depiction may have been influenced by an 1806 book illustration by Toyohiro (1773-1828) where
  an enormous > octopus
with huge protuberant eyes
 is assaulting a ship full of horrified passengers – that is, all but Ariô Maru who has fearlessly raised his sword about to slice off the closest tentacle of this monster.”

Notes: Provenance: B.W. Robinson Collection. (The Warrior Prints, S1c13).

Another impression of this print is in the collection of The British Museum.

A superb piece !


 

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Well-Known Warrior Print – 100 Aspects Of The Moon Soga Brother


Goro Tokimune  Yoshitoshi – c.1885.

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi  月岡 芳年

Well-Known Warrior Print – 100 Aspects Of The Moon – Soga Brother – Goro Tokimune - Yoshitoshi – c.1885.


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Description:
Original antique Japanese color woodblock by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892). 
Musha-e
(Prints depicting warriors). Date: 12/1885. Signed (with artist’s seal): Yoshitoshi no in
Title: Ugo no sangetsu – Tokimune (Mountain Moon After Rain – Tokimune)’
Series: Tsuki hyakushi (One Hundred Aspects of the Moon)’
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon. Engraver: Enkatsu. Oban tate-e size: 13 3/4” x 9 1/4” inches. 
Fine (first edition) early impression with strongly visible woodgrain in the sky, color and near fine condition. 
A little nick, minor marks and flaws otherwise in a very nice state.

“A marvellous portrayal of Goro Tokimune, the younger and more reckless of the two Soga brothers. Soga Monogatari is probably the most popular subject in Japanese literature, drama and ukiyo-e. There were over twenty kabuki plays written about the Soga brothers legend. In this illustration, Goro Tokimune is depicted as a handsome young man with his sword drawn, pushing the sleeves of his robe up to his shoulders, just a moment before he commits his act of revenge on Kudo Suketsune who had murdered his father when he and his brother were still small children. Tokimune’s monumental figure is drawn with incredible detail with the Japanese cuckoo (hototogisu) flying in front of the crescent moon foreshadowing of what is to occur.”

About the series: “The One Hundred Aspects of the Moon is Yoshitoshi’s best-known series. For the diverse subjects of the series Yoshitoshi drew inspiration from history, myths, literature and contemporary subjects. While this series comprises some of his best work, there are also several uninspired designs. It is said that first editions of each design invariably sold out on the first day of publication. Impressions ran into the thousands and it is worthwile to compare early and late impressions. Clean and sharp first impressions are becoming rarer nowadays, but later impressions of most designs are still easy to find, though the colors of the late editions have often lost much of their subtlety. Upon completion of the series its publisher, Akiyama Buemon, made it available in bound sets. The quality of these sets varies greatly: sets of fine early impressions exist, but there are also those of doubtful quality...” (Beauty & Violence, Japanese Prints by Yoshitoshi 1839~1892 by Robert Schaap).

Other impressions of the ‘Mountain Moon After Rain’ – design are in the collection of the following museums: The British Museum, The Edo Tokyo Museum,The Tokyo Metro Library and The Waseda University Theatre Museum.

Reference: John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's One Hundred Aspects of the Moon, 2001, cat. no. 9.

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Yoshitsuya Triptych Masterpiece - Minamoto Yorimitsu - Gian Serpent - Magician.

Utagawa Yoshitsuya  歌川 芳艶

Yoshitsuya Triptych Masterpiece - Minamoto Yorimitsu - Gian Serpent - Magician.

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Description:
Original antique Japanese woodblock print Utagawa Yoshitsuya (1822-1866). Musha-e (Warrior print).  
Date: 4/1858. Publisher: Tsutaya. Oban tate-e triptych size: 28" x 13 3/8" inches. 
Fine impression (with burnishing on the scales of the snake), very good color and condition. 
Some trimming, minor marks and flaws.

Minamoto Yorimitsu and his men attacking the magician Hakamadare Yasumasa who has conjured a giant phantom serpent. 
The black dog runs right at the magician because he doesn't see the serpent. This way Yorimitsu is convinced that the serpent is a phantom. A mesmerizing composition with the giant serpent meandering through all three panels.

This incredible woodblock print is Yoshitsuya's acclaimed masterwork rivaling the best of 
Kuniyoshi's dramatic triptychs.


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Rare Utagawa Kunisada - Warrior Print - Omori Hikoshichi - c.1830.

Rare Utagawa Kunisada - Warrior Print - Omori Hikoshichi - c.1830.

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Description:
Antique Japanese color woodblock Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865). Mucha-e (Warrior print). Date: c.1830s. 
Oban tate-e size: 14 1/3" x 9 3/4" inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition. A few very minute professionally restored wormholes, very slightly trimmed, faint centerfold but otherwise in a magnificent state with very fresh colors. Wonderful printed details such as metallic pigments and embossing.

A young 'innocent' woman has persuaded a warrior (Omori Hikoshichi, a samurai from the 14th century) to carry her across a stream on his back. When they are halfway across he looks down and sees the reflection of a hanya demon in the water in front of him. Kunisada has masterfully captured this specific moment; the troubled expression on Hikoshichi's face as he is confronted with this hazardous situation, reaching beneath his robes ready to draw his sword.

There are two variations on the story, the first is straightforward, Hikoshichi draws his sword and kills the demon just in time. The second is not mythical and tells the tale of revenge by the defeated warlord Kusonoki Masashige's daughter who's seeking retribution for her father's suicide. She puts on a hanya mask before imposing revenge.

Kunisada's image has clearly been inspired by the former one.

Impressions of this design have been included to the collections of the British Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

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Tsukioka Yoshitoshi - Samurai Meeting - Musha-e - c.1878.

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi - Samurai Meeting - Musha-e - c.1878.

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Description:
Antique Japanese color woodblock print by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892). Musha-e (Warrior print). 
Date: 1878. Oban tate-e size: 9 1/8" x 13 1/2" inches. Fine impression, color and near fine condition. 
Series: 'Mirror of Famous Generals of Japan'. Title: 'Kusunoki Masashige Reading to His Troops at Shitennoji Temple'. 
One very tiny hole, minor marks and flaws otherwise in a very good state with a strong ink-bleed through to verso.

Yoshitoshi designed this important series of 51 prints of military heroes from 1876 to 1882. These exciting pictures of famous warriors created a feeling with the Japanese public. Full of violence and forceful emotions, Yoshitoshi's striking and ingenious compositions challenged a historic subject while using a modern style. His realism and drafting skill captured the valuable heritage of these national heroes at a time when Japan was struggling with the after-effects of the Satsuma Rebellion.

A beautiful design of the great fourteenth-century general Kusunoki Masashige, who fought for the banished Emperor Go-Daigo during the period of Northern and Southern courts in Japan. In this scene at Shitennoji Temple, Masashige sits reading a scroll to his accumulated staff, the men bowing their heads respectfully as they listen. He wears a tall court cap and a red robe under his armor, a quiver of arrows resting against the pillar at his back.

A very nice image, wonderfully detailed with burnishing and soft shading in the evening sky.


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Utagawa Yoshitora  歌川 芳虎

Utagawa Yoshitora ( fl. ca. 1850-1880 )

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Yoshitora - Archer - Oban - Warrior Print - 1861.

Yoshitora - Archer - Oban - Warrior Print - 1861.

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Description:
Original antique Japanese color woodblock Utagawa Yoshitora (fl. ca. 1850~1880). Mucha-e (Warrior print). 
Oban tate-e size: 10" x 14 3/4" inches. Date: 1861. Publisher: Izutsuya. Signature: Yoshitora ga. 
Excellent impression, color and fine condition. 
A very small thinning spot (In the water near the left shoulder of the man on the rock) otherwise this print is as new !  
Title:
'Chinzei Hahiro Tametomo (12th. Century formidable archer) sinking the leading ship with a single arrow. 
His henchman Oniyasha on a rock'. 

A wonderful warrior print !


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Triptych Toshihide - Warriors In Snow - c.1890 - Meiji.

Triptych Toshihide - Warriors In Snow - c.1890 - Meiji.

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Description:
Original antique Japanese color woodblock Migita Toshihide (1863-1925), Musha-e (Warrior print). Date: c.1890. 
Oban triptych size: ca. 14" x 9 1/4" inches (each sheet). Very fine impression (with extensive shomenzuri), 
color and very good condition. Slightly trimmed on lateral margins, rubbing on verso (backing only). 
Very minor marks and flaws.

Subject: Warriors of the Minamoto Clan duelling to the death, with swords, on a snow covered riverbank. 
Five men in a boat are heading towards them.

A superb warrior design ! 


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Kuniyoshi - Suikoden Warrior Masterpiece Famous Under Water Scene - 1827.

Kuniyoshi - Suikoden Warrior Masterpiece Famous Under Water Scene - 1827.

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Description:
Original antique Japanese color woodblock Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). Mucha-e (Warrior print). 
Oban tate-e size: 15 1/5" x 10 2/5"" inches. (Virtually full size!) Date: c.1827-1830. Very good impression, color and condition. 
Colors slightly faded, very minor wrinkling, minor marks and flaws otherwise wonderful state ! Description: Tammeijiro Genshogo, the tattooed warrior, fighting under water with an enemy. From Kuniyoshi's famous series: ' Tsuzoku Suikoden goketsu hyakuhachinin no hitori' (The Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Popular Suikoden, One by One). Signed: Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga. Published by Kagaya Kichiemon.

References: 
p.104 (s 2.69) in 'Kuniyoshi, the Warrior Prints' by B.W.Robinson, BM; VAM; Inouye, Pl.108; Or.Art, Spring 1961, p.25; Hillier, 47; UMS, 8; UT, 171; Riccar 1978, 48; Riccar 1979, 26; Bidwell 1980, 10; Kruml, 9.4.

Yoshitoshi, one of Kuniyoshi's most celebrated pupils, clearly was inspired by this print when he designed his acclaimed vertical oban diptych entitled: 'Cho Jun, the White Stripes in the Waves, Wrestling in the River with Ri Ki, the Black Whirlwind' !

This famous underwater scene by Kuniyoshi is considered the masterpiece of the Suikoden series !


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Rare Kuniyoshi Album - Complete Set (51 Woodblock Prints)

of True Stories of the Taheiki - c.1917.

Rare Kuniyoshi Album - Complete Set (51 Woodblock Prints)
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Description:
Original antique Japanese color woodblock album Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). Date: Taisho 6 (1917-18). 
A re-issue of Kuniyoshi's famous series ' True Stories of the Taheiki'  (Taiheiki Eiyu den). 
Containing 51 woodblock prints in chuban format !  Book size: 9 1/2" x 6 1/2" inches. 
Fine impressions (with gauffrage), colors and near fine condition. Externally very good condition, some minor wrinkling. 
Internally some very minor foxing, marks and flaws but overall in a wonderful state !

A magnificent and rare book !


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Wonderful Warrior Print -  Kuniyoshi 1836 - Three Kingdoms.

Wonderful Warrior Print -  Kuniyoshi 1836 - Three Kingdoms.

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Description:
Original antique Japanese color woodblock Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), Musha-e (Warrior print). 
Date: 1836. Fine impression, color and very good condition. Trimmed otherwise in a flawless state ! 
Oban tate-e size: 10 1/3" x 13 1/3" inches. Signed: Kuniyoshi ga. Title: ' Tsuzoku Sangokushi yei yu no ichi-nin'. 
(Heroes of the Popular History of the Three Kingdoms, one by one). Subject: Choko and Choun fighting in a glare on a hillside. Publisher: Joshuya Kinzo. Title on oblong cartouche with narrow yellow edges; text on rectangular panel with similar edge!

'Romance of the Three Kingdoms' is a Chinese historical novel written in the fourteenth century by Luo Guanzhong about the period between the years 184 and 280 CE. During this turbulent period of history, China was composed of three competing kingdoms- the Wei (also known as Cao Wei), the Han (also known as Shu Han or Shu) and the Wu (also known as Eastern Wu).

Reference: (S10.4) p.108/109 in 'Kuniyoshi, the Warrior Prints' by B.W. Robinson.

A very interesting and dynamic design! 

 


 

 

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