Ukiyo-e Prints Highlighting Celebrities of the Past

More than 100 Ukiyo-e Japanese woodblock prints from the Edo (1603-1868) and Meji (1868-1912) periods are offered in this week’s curated prints sale. Ukiyo-e is a genre of prints that depict common scenes of kabuki actors, samurai warriors and female bathers. Featured artists include some of the most prominent artists such as Katsushika Hokusai and Utagawa (Ando) Hiroshige.

A woodblock print by artist Hokushu depicts two kabuki actors of their day, Arashi Kichisaburo II and Nakamura Utaemon III. This dramatic print is dated ‘9/1820.’

Japanese woodblock print by Hokushu depicts actors Arashi Kichisaburo II as Koretaka Shinno in ‘Toki Wa Ima Ariwara Keizu’ and Nakamura Utaemon III as Kato Masakiyo in ‘Hachijin Shugo no Honjo,’ 1820, 9.5 x 14 inches. Estimate: $1,100-$1,300. Jasper52 image


Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s woodblock print pictures a Goshaku Somegoro, a popular 19th century Japanese musician.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, ‘Goshaku Somegoro,’ 1845, 15in x 10.25in, conservation matted to 20in x 16in. Estimate: $5,000-$5,600. Jasper52 image


The legend of Kintaro, the “Golden-boy,” is a popular subject for uikyo-e artists. Even as a child, Kintaro possessed incredible strength and lived in the wild mountains. He is often portrayed alongside animal friends or with the mountain woman, Yamamba. This version is by Utamaro I Kitagawa and is expected to sell for $4,500-$4,800.

Utamaro I Kitagawa, ‘Kintaro and the Mountain Woman Yamamba,’ Oban format, 24.1cm x 37.3cm, Edo period (1615-1868). Estimate: $4,500-$4,800. Jasper52 image


Another Edo period print by Utamaro I Kitagawa of a mother and child is one of a series titled Twelve Physiognomies of Beauties. The print carries a $5,800-$6,000 estimate.

Utamaro I Kitagawa, ‘Twelve Physiognomies of Beauties,’ series: Meisho fukubijin ni so, Oban format, 25.7cm x 38.5cm, Edo period. Estimate: $5,800-$6,000. Jasper52 image


Dating to the 1830s is Yanagawa Shigenobu’s Hana awase no. 2 (Flower Competition), Kotoba no hana (Flower of the Language). It is awarded a $2,500-$3,000 estimate.

Yanagawa Shigenobu, ‘Hana awase (A flower competition) no. 2: Kotoba no hana’ (Flower of the language), signed, Yanagawa seal, early 1830s, 8 1/4in x 7 3/8in). Estimate: $2,500-$3,000. Jasper52 image


From Yoshitoshi Taiso’s series Thirty-two Aspects of Women is a print depicting a concubine washing her hands. The second edition print was published in 1888 by Tsunashima Kamekichi of Tokyo.

Yoshitoshi Taiso, ‘Chilly – A Concubine, Bunka Era’ series: ‘Thirty-two Aspects of Women’ (Fuzoku Sanjuniso), 1888, image size: 9 3/8in x 14 1/8in. Estimate: $1,300-$1,600. Jasper52 image


View the fully illustrated catalog and find your next treasure.