Welcome to our May 2019 selection. We are showing a variety of themes that recur throughout ukiyo-e. As examples of landscape, we have a set of three very lovely Tokaido Road prints, two from Hiroshige’s famous series the Upright Tokaido and one quite rare print from Yoshitoshi’s contribution to the Fan Tokaido. The Hiroshige, Ferryboats at Shichiri, is an especially good design from the set. In the triptych section we are showing a rare Hiroshige triptych, Famous Places of Edo from late in his career. Few examples of this print have ever come to the market.
The great print - a full six sheet oban - of the show is by Yoshitoshi. This masterpiece from 1864 is a panorama of the legendary Battle of Dan-no-ura. This hexaptych is unknown to scholarship in its full iteration. It is a magnificent and triumphant piece, unique as far as we can tell and a major discovery in the early career of one of Japan’s most revered artists.
We are also showing two superb first edition prints from Yoshitoshi’s Selection of A Hundred Warriors from 1868. We are contrasting that series (which could not be more different from the hexaptych of only four years earlier.) with Kuniyoshi’s Ushioda Masanojô Takanori from the series, Portraits of the Faithful Samurai of True Loyalty from 1853, underlining Yoshitoshi’s continuing debt to his former teacher and mentor.
We rarely show shunga prints but we have three rare examples attributed to artists not usually associated with the genre. The double sheet Kunichika is a wonderfully evocative piece, subtle and understated, as is the delightful and jewel like Hiroshige of a woman peeking through a room screen. Elsewhere we have reunited two prints from a series of two!… the Kunisada portrait of Jiraiya and his sister is lovely and again, rare to find together. These prints are contrasted with another pair of theatre portraits by Kunisada. Three rare prints from Kunichiks’s 36 Good and Evil Beauties come together as do two chubans by Kuniyoshi of examples of filial piety!
There are some outstanding pieces in this selection and we are still trying to keep our prices as low as possible. There is a new essay discussing themes in Japanese woodblock Prints at the Eblogger and our Wordpress site is once more carrying regular posts on alternative aspects of each print updated on a weekly basis.
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