Sneak Peeks – February 11 Single Owner Kuniyoshi Auction

We are still assembling the lots for our first ever single owner auction, featuring almost 100 works by Kuniyoshi. The auction will be held on Friday, February 11, exclusively on the LiveAuctioneers platform. In the meantime, we posted a series of sneak peeks on Facebook, reproduced here, to give you an idea of what will be included in the auction. We are getting a lot of the information about these prints from The Kuniyoshi Project


Sneak Peek # 1 posted December 16

This triptych is titled “A Popular Romance of the Three Kingdoms: Liu Bei Visits Zhuge Liang Three Times in the Snow”, Ox 4, May 1853. The image depicts Gentoku, Kwanu and Chohi visiting the house of Komei in the snow to request the latter’s assistance. It was published by Tsuta-ya Kichizo, and listed at Robinson, T294.

Sneak Peek # 2 posted December 17

Sneak Peek # 3 posted December 20

This is one of several designs from the series The Sixty-nine Post Stations of the Kisokaido Road that will be includedin our aucyion. It represents Mitake, the 50th station. The main scene shows Kagekiyo carrying a naginata (pole arm) on the colossal Buddha of Todaiji, where he was arrested and the insert depicts the traditional Mitake view, huts by a river and mountains in mist, reminiscent of the image of the Hiroshige version of this station. The series was published 1852-53 by Sumiyoshi-ya Masagoro, and listed by Robinson as S74.51.

Sneak Peek # 4 Posted December 22

We will have two designs from the Choice of Heroes for the Twelve Signs included in the sale – Boar and Snake. In this series, published by Minato-ya Kohei in 1840, historic and legendary heroes are likened to the twelve animals of the Buddhist zodiac. . These images are listed at Robinson S17.6 and S17.12, respectively.

Representing the sign of the Snake, Nitta Shiro Tadatsune is shown with snakes and a vision of the goddess of Mt. Fuji

Representing the sign of the Boar, Emperor Yuryaku Tenno is shown by a waterfall on Mt. Katsuragi killing a giant boar with his bare hands

Sneak Peek # 5 posted December 26

We will have several designs from the The 108 Heroes of the Popular Suikoden Series included in the sale. According to the Kuniyoshi Project, this is Kuniyoshi’s “great” Suikoden series, which made him famous. This is the first single-sheet color prints on the Suikoden theme , as well as the first large series of warrior prints designed by any ukiyo-e artist. The series was published by Kaga-ya Kichiemon, 1827-1830, with a few designs issued later.

Wang Ying, the Dwarf Tiger (Waikyakuko Oei), as he stands on a rock overhanging a torrent, with a drawn sword in his hand.

Wang Ying, the Dwarf Tiger (Waikyakuko Oei), as he stands on a rock overhanging a torrent, with a drawn sword in his hand.,

Sneak Peek #6 Posted December 28

This rare diptych depictis Ichikawa Danjuro VIII as Tamiya Iemon (L) and Ichikawa Kodanji IV as the Ghost of Oiwa and the Ghost of Kohei. It illustrates a scene from the play Ghost Stories at Yotsuya, which was performed at the Ichimura Theater. The print is from the 9th month of 1848 and published by Ota-ya Takichi.

Sneak Peek #7 Posted January 2

Included in the sale will be a handful of designs from the Heroic Stories of the Taiheiki series, c. 1848-49, published by Yamamoto-ya Heikichi. The “Taiheiki”, written in the late 14th century, recounts a series of wars between the Northern Court of Ashikaga Takauji in Kyoto, and the Southern Court of Emperor Go-Daigo in Yoshino.  This series, however, illustrates characters from the civil wars of the 16th century, with the participant’s names altered.

In this print, from the series the young Orio Mosuke Yasuharu is pictured overcoming a huge wild boar.  The historical character from the “Taiheiki” is Horio Mosuke Yoshiharu.  This design is listed at Robinson: S62.27.

Sneak Peek #8 Posted January 4

There will be quite a few designs from the Twenty-four Paragons of Filial Piety of Our Country series (including an album with 19 prints).  This series was published by Murata-ya Tetsu, , c. 1842-43.  The series of prints portrays a warlike lot of children from Japanese history and legend–several free their parents from captivity or avenge their parents’ deaths. In the spirit of the season, we are featuring two winter scenes in this post.

Sneak Peek #9 Posted January 7

Here are two designs from the Courageous Leaders in Thirty-six Battles series.  This series was published by Izumi-ya Ichibei, 1851-52.  According to the Kuniyoshi Project, the exact number of prints in the series is unknown, but suspected to be less than the 36 indicated by the series name.

Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin  in the river at Kawanakajima with Hatsukano  Denemon behind them. Takeda Shingen is holding his famous banner which reads, “Swift as the wind, silent as a forest, fierce as fire and immovable as a mountain.”

Yoshinaka sending oxen with flaming straw attached to their horns against the panicked Taira in the Battle of Kurikaradani.