JAPANESE PRINTS

A MILLION QUESTIONS

TWO MILLION MYSTERIES

 

 

Ukiyo-e Prints

浮世絵版画

Port Townsend, Washington

 

 

 

UTAGAWA TOYOKUNI I

 

 

豊国

 

 

うたがわとよくに

 

 

1769-1825

 

 

Play: Kanadehon Chūshingura

 

仮名手本忠臣蔵

かなでほんちゅうしんぐら

Actors

 

Bandō Hikosaburō III (1751-1828) as Yuranosuke  (standing) 

 

 

坂東彦三郎 as 由良之介

 

 

ばんどひこさぶろう as ゆらのすけ

 

 

 Sawamura Tanosuke II (1788-1817) as the courtesan Okaru (seated)

 

 

村田之助 as おかる

 

 

さわむらたのすけ as おかる

 

Date:  1811, 7th Month

Bunka 8

文化8

 

Signed: Toyokuni ga

 

Publisher: Iseya Rihei

版元名: 伊勢屋利兵衛

 

はんもとな: いせやりへえ

 

There is another copy of this print in the collection of
Waseda University.

 

ORIGINALLY $920.00

NOW $600.00

 

 

Above is a detail of Bando Hikosaburo III.

Notice the difference in this detail and the coloration of the whole print shown above.

This image is the truer one and shows how much I have learned since I first posted this page.

 

 

 

Above is a detail of  Sawamura Tanosuke II.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to Jan van Doesburg in his What About Kunisada? (p. 134) this is a special gyōji seal which generally would have only appeared from 1811-14. These seals were used by publishers chosen by the government to act as censors. This is the one for Iga (Igaya Kanemon).

 

Publisher's Seal:

Iseya Rihei

 

 

 

   
  Detail of the backside.  

 

 

*The Kiwame  is the most commonly seen censor's seal on Japanese prints and appears from 1790 to ca. 1842.

 

This poses a particular problem for new collectors and beginning connoisseurs alike. The kiwame alone does not allow the viewer to know the specific date of any image. However, there are other cues: Identifying specific actors and their career dates; performance dates of plays; knowing the terminus ante quem of  such things as an artist's death date; and recognizing the stylistic changes within the oeuvre of an individual artists. This is less a science than an art.

 

Determining dates using the kiwame is by necessity subjective and relies on exerience and exposure. Even the greatest Rembrandt experts haven't always agreed on the fine points of his prints. Keep this in mind if ever you run across the same image in two different shops or books where there are different dates displayed. Naturally, one will be closer to the truth. My job is to figure out which one.

 

 

Direct purchase may be made through check or money order or by payment through PayPal.

 

 

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