Ukiyo-e | Kabuki | Modern prints | Meisho-e | Kacho-e | Preparatory drawings hanshita-e | Musha-e


[P039] An elegant man (Prince Genji?) with two ladies in a garden
From the colours, probably published after around 1880. The paper appears old (19thC).
Acquired 1970
Size: ôban
[P072] Fan print
Manner of Kiyomasu II Torii (1706-63) or Shigenaga Nishimura (ca.1697-1756)
Evening Bell at Mii Temple [三井晩鐘]
This is subject 4 of “Eight Views” a theme borrowed from Chinese Poetry and adapted to various scenes in Japan. (1) Snow; (2) Evening rain; (3) Autumn moon; (4) Vesper bells; (5) Boats returning at evening; (6) Geese flying to rest; (7) Sunset; (8) Clearing weather after rain. Hiroshige used Evening Bell, Mii Temple in Eight Views of Omi “Omi Hakkei”.
A similar print (by Shigenaga Nishimura) may be seen here
The classical poem selected in 1500 by Prince Konoe Masaie and his son Naomichi to match the scene reads: Omou mono / Akatsuki chigiru / Hajime zo to / Mazu kiku Mii no / Iri-ai no kane - Lovers think / 'So begin our / dawn vows' / When first they hear / The evening bell of Mii Temple
Probably published around 1730
Acquired 2010
[P172] Tōkyō [東京]
Probably published by Iseya Tatsugorô in Meiji era. Edo was renamed Tokyo after the Meiji Restoration in 1868.
Acquired 2010
Size: The process of making the crepe version reduces the size from ôban to 17.1 x 24.1
[P204] Two women
The point of this print may be to advertise the spectacular kimono.
Published by Fukuda Kumajirô in Meiji or Taishô era
Acquired 2010
Size: ôban 25.5 x 37.0
[P270] Portrait of Tokugawa Ietsuna [徳川家綱]
Tokugawa Ietsuna (September 7, 1641-June 4, 1680) was the fourth shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty of Japan who was in office from 1651 to 1680. He was the eldest son of Tokugawa Iemitsu. Tokugawa Iemitsu died in early 1651, at the age of forty seven. Ietsuna, the heir, was only ten but became shogun in Kei'an 4 (1651). Until he came of age, five regents ruled in his place. Though Ietsuna proved to be an able leader, affairs were largely controlled by the regents his father had appointed, even after Ietsuna was declared old enough to rule in his own right.
Hardly any prints that depict a member of the Tokugawa family were published during the Edo period (1603-1868). As far back as the sixteenth century, censorship laws strictly forbade the depiction of members of the bushi, the aristocratic members of the samurai class. However, prints showing the Tokugawa shoguns were published in large numbers with the beginning of the Meiji period.
Published by an unknown publisher in the Meiji period
Acquired 2011
Size: 5.6 x 10.2
[P291] Courtesan tending bonsai
We have been unable to find any reliable information about this print, which appears to be Meiji era
Acquired 2011
Size: ôban 19.7 x 30.0
[P340] Later description of heros? [後風土記英勇傳]

Tokugawa Ieyasu [徳川 家康] (31 January 1543 to 1 June 1616) was the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, which ruled from the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Ieyasu seized power in 1600, received appointment as shogun in 1603, abdicated from office in 1605, but remained in power until his death in 1616. Ieyasu was posthumously enshrined at Nikkô Tôshô-gû with the name Tôshô Daigongen [東照大権現].

Published by an unknown publisher in 1873
Censor seal Cock (1873) XII

Acquired 2011
Size: chûban 18.0 x 23.8
[P346] A decorated lantern and objects from a scholar's table

The practice of collecting significant small objects and displaying them on a scholar's table originated in China. The objects chosen were partly practical (brush-holderswater-jars, water-droppers, brush-washers, ink and seal-paste boxes, paper-weights), as well as decorative items such as censers, trays, tables, eccentric boulders and rockworks, as well as precious wooden boxes. The objects were intended to reflect the scholar's aesthetic and elegant taste.

Acquired 2011
Size: shikishiban 22.0 x 22.3
[P379] [二品親王女三官]

Possibly a Heian period princess.

Possibly published in the Meiji era.

Acquired 2012
Size: ôban 24.7 x 36.5
[P382] Lady playing the koto [箏] and man playing the shakuhachi [尺八]

This is probably an illustration from a book.
Prince Genji is often described playing the flute with a koto. The style of the clothes and surroundings are not inconsistent with this being from the Tale of Genji Genji Monogatari [源氏物語], a classic work of Japanese literature attributed to the Japanese noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu in the early 11th century.
The Japanese flute shakuhachi was closely associated with Fuke sect of Zen Buddhist monks, known as komusô ("priests of nothingness," or "emptiness monks"), who used the shakuhachi as a spiritual tool. During the shogunate, these mendicant monks persuaded the Shogun to give them exclusive rights to play the instrument. In return, some were required to spy for the shogunate.
When the shogunate was abolished in the Meiji Restoration of 1868 the Fuke sect was suppressed and the playing of the shakuhachi was officially forbidden for a few years. When the Meiji government did permit the playing of shakuhachi again, it was only as an accompanying instrument to the koto, shamisen, etc.

Acquired 2012
Size: chûban diptych 24.8 x 18.4
[P408] Bijin-ga

A woman may be getting clothes out ready to dress.
We have not been able to identify this print, which is possibly from the Meiji era.

Acquired 2012
Size: chûban 18.9 x 27.2 in frame


[P145] Kabuki: The light snow of the crow cawing at daybreak dream [明烏夢の淡雪]
Actors: Sawamura Seishi and Nakamura Fukusuke
The play and the artist have not been fully identified.
There is an inscription 刷印尾吉市山富 that appears to refer to a printmaker Biyoshi Ichiyama, Meiji era.
Acquired 2010
Size: ôban 20.8 x 31.1 in frame
[P146] Kabuki: Chushingûra [忠臣蔵] 9
Actors: Nakamura Shikan [中村 芝翫] and Ichikawa Gonjûrô [市川 権十郎 ]
There is an inscription 刷印尾吉市山富 that appears to refer to a printmaker Biyoshi Ichiyama, Meiji era.
Acquired 2010
Size: ôban 19.5 x 31.0 in frame
[P147] Kabuki: Chushingûra [忠臣蔵] 10
Actors: Ichikawa Otora [市川 女寅] and Ichikawa Somegorô [市川 染五郎]
There is an inscription 刷印尾吉市山富 that appears to refer to a printmaker Biyoshi Ichiyama, Meiji era.
Acquired 2010
Size: ôban 19.9 x 31.2 in frame
[P148] Kabuki: Charming figure woman's dancing clothes [艶姿女舞衣]
Actors: Nakamura Shikan [中村 芝翫], Onoe Kikugorô [尾上 菊五郎] and Ichikawa Yonezô [市川 米蔵]
This is probably a kabuki dance.
There is an inscription 刷印尾吉市山富 that appears to refer to a printmaker Biyoshi Ichiyama. Publisher’s seal unidentified, Meiji era.
Acquired 2010
Size: ôban 19.8 x 31.8 in frame
[P192] Kabuki (probably)
Taken to be related to kabuki because of the used of edomoji [江戸文字 : えどもじ]. These are styles of Japanese lettering invented for advertising in the Edo period. The main styles are: Kanteiryû, Yosemoji, Kagomoji, Higemoji, Sumô moji, Chôchin moji and Kakuji. The style on this print is Kanteiryû [勘亭流] which was used for publicity and programmes for arts like kabuki and rakugo. Invented by Okazakiya Kanroku [岡崎屋 勘六], the name derives from Okazaki's nickname, kantei [勘亭].
No censor seals, so probably published after censorship ended in the Meiji era
Acquired 2010
Size: 25.1 x 37.9 ôban
[P345] Memorial print for the actor Tsuketakaya Takatsuke

This is a memorial print and the actor Tsuketakaya Takatsuke is indentified as the subject in pencil on the back of the mount, where it also says 53 years (1850). However, we have been unable to find out about the actor.

Possibly published in 1850

Acquired 2011
Size: ôban 25.9 x 36.4

Modern prints

[P194] Ox on hill [牧旧?]
This could be part of the shin hanga (new print) movement that integrated influences such as Impressionism into traditional Japanese woodblock production. Typically the artists introduced the effects of light and the expression of individual moods into traditional Japanese subjects. Alternatively it could be part of the sosaku hanga (creative print) art movement, arising from the Japanese Creative Print Society in 1918. Artist are involved actively and in person in the printmaking process from the design to the finished product.
Published in 20thC
Acquired 2010
Size: ôban
[P283] Falconer [鷹匠]
This appears to be a fairly modern (20th C) print with added colour, numbered No. 13 in pencil on the back. We have been unable to find out any more about it.
Acquired 2011
Size: ôban 25.8 x 36.7
[P406] Bride

The title of the print may be 嬪[?], bride? The artist's seal may read 瞚 Shun. We have not been able to identify the artist or title.
The Bell Flower or campanula ( Kikyou) [桔梗] is the symbol of unchanging love, honesty, and obedience.

Published 20th century

Acquired 2012
Size: non-standard 45.1 x 37.4 in frame


[P200] Shrine on Ataoyama
The Atago Shrine [愛宕神社, Atago Jinja] in Minato, Tokyo, Japan is a Shinto shrine built in 1603. It is located on Atago Hill - Ataoyama, which is 26 m above sea level. It had an excellent view of Tokyo. The very steep stairs leading to the shrine are also famous, as they represent success in life. The shrine was erected to protect the residents from fire; it had an excellent view, well suited to watch for fires.
Published 19thC
Acquired 2010
Size: 28.6 x 21.1 chûban
[P284] Various distinguished old families picture book five
The publisher Aoki Tsunesaburô (Suzandô) of Osaka made reproductions of the works of great masters. A publicity sheet from Suzandô may be seen here:
The identity of the original painting and artist are as yet unknown.
Published by Aoki Tsunesaburô in 30/VI/1894
Acquired 2011
Size: nagaban 20.6 x 52.4
[P338] Unknown

Published early 20th century?

Acquired 2011
Size: koban 9.0 x 20.8
[P342] A procession on the Tôkaidô

Several stations on the Tôkaidô road are labelled (other stations are probably on other sheets of a multi-part picture)
  • Seki [関] (station 47)
  • Kameyama [亀山 ] (station 46)
  • Chiriyû [池鯉鮒] (station 39)
  • Okazaki [岡崎] (station 38)
  • Okabe [岡部] (station 21)
  • Fujieda [藤枝] (station 22)
  • Kanbara [蒲原] (station 15)
  • Yoshiwara [吉原] (station 14)
And Takanawa [高輪] not a station, but an area in Edo

Published by an unknown publisher probably in the Meiji era

Acquired 2011
Size: ôban 25.4 x 37.1


[P203] Lotus, cherry, crab, moth, bird
The cherry blossom has always been a deeply symbolic flower for the Japanese. Samurai used to write poems and dedicated works of art to capturing the essence of the cherry blossom. They thought of the cherry blossom as a symbolic of their own life, very beautiful but short lived. The lotus flower is believed to represent the journey of life. Starting as a delicate bud down in the mud, it pushes to the surface, and then blossoms into a beautiful flower. This has been symbolic of the journey that every person must go through as they gain enlightenment. There may be some element of word play in this print: the Japanese for hawk moth [suzume-ga   雀蛾 ] means “sparrow [suzume 雀] moth”.
Probably published in Meiji era
Acquired 2010
Size: ôban 23.6 x 34.2
[P331] Modern distinguished bird and flower sketches Kinsei meika kachō gafu [近世名家花鳥画譜]
No 11 [十一]

Mandarin ducks

Published by unknown publisher

Acquired 2011
Size: chûban 27.2 x 2.06
[P332] Modern distinguished bird and flower sketches Kinsei meika kachō gafu [近世名家花鳥画譜]
No 5 [五]

Japanese quail

Published by unknown publisher

Acquired 2011
Size: chûban 27.2 x 20.7
[P334] Carp

This is a very popular subject. There is another version of this image printed from slightly different blocks. This would indicate that this is a well-known image; however, we have not been able to find any further information about it.

Published by an unknown publisher probably in early 20th century

Acquired 2011
Size: koban 8.7 x 20.7
[P347] Cranes

Cranes appear often in Japanese art. The Red-crowned or Japanese Crane (Grus japonensis) is known as the tancho and is said to live for 1,000 years.

Unknown publisher and date

Acquired 2011
Size: half shikishiban 8.3 x 21.6

Preparatory drawings hanshita-e

[P286] [平朝臣家負?]
It is not clear whether this is a preparatory sketch or a hanshita-e, a copy of a design by an assistant to the artist which would (once approved by the artist and publisher) be pasted to the woodblock for the carvers to work from. We have not been able to translate the title
Based on circumstantial evidence this may date from the 1890s. The paper looks right for this date and the other prints bought in the same lot dated from the 1890s.
Acquired 2011
Size: 18.4 x 23.4


[P419] Battle scene

The major characters on the horse is labelled [渋谷六郎] Shibuya Rokurô and [鵞池平九郎] ? Ikenotaira Kurô. Rokurô is the traditional name given to the sixth son, and Kurô the ninth. This is probably part of a multi-part image.

Published by unknown Edo or Meiji Eras

Acquired 2012
Size: ôban 24.2 x 36.5