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    Sale 7622

    Japanese Art and Design

    11 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 77

    Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)

    SIGNED AND DATED KANJI BUNKA NINEN KINOTO-USHI SHIGATSU SHAKA NO UMARESHI NANAYO NO HI, TOTO KOKKEI SAKUSHA TATEKAWA OITE DANSHURO, ROKUJUNII O UTEI ENBA GIJUTSU, SEALED ENBA AND SIGNED UTEI ENBA OJU OITE DANSHURO...HOKUSAI SEKIGA, SEALED GAKYOJIN

    Price Realised  

    Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)
    Signed and dated Kanji Bunka ninen kinoto-ushi shigatsu Shaka no umareshi nanayo no hi, Toto kokkei sakusha Tatekawa oite Danshuro, rokujunii o Utei Enba gijutsu, sealed Enba and signed Utei Enba oju oite Danshuro...Hokusai sekiga, sealed Gakyojin
    A hand-painted scroll depicting a panoramic view of the journey along the Sumida River from the Nihonbashi Bridge to the Yoshiwara, concluding with a depiction of a party where two men are waiting to eat while two others are being entertained by four courtesans in a room decorated with a screen depicting cherry blossoms, a young attendant kneeling in front of another man who is lying on a pile of futons smoking a pipe
    28.5cm. x 633.5cm.


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    The inscription indicates that the scroll was commissioned by Utei Enba and painted by Hokusai at the Danjuro (establishment). Utei Enba, an old man of 62 years and composer of comic writings at the Danjuro in Tachikawa, signed the painting in the 4th month of 1805, the day of the seventh night when Shaka (the Historical Buddha) was born.

    Utei Enba was born in 1743 with the family name Nakamura Hidenori. He was a carpenter by trade, the owner of a shop Izumiya Watsuke which sold tabi [socks] and in his spare time was the leader of the Mimasu Ren, which functioned both as a fan club of the actor Ichikawa Danjuro and as a kyoka poetry group, where he wrote under the name of Nomi Chonagon Sumikane, a name which was composed of the tools of his trade: nomi [chisel], chona [adze] sumikane [carpenter's square]. In 1783 he had a great triumph with a comic monologue at the Takara awase no kai (a humorous competition among various kyoka clubs), and this success led him to form a new group called the Hanashi no kai [Story-telling Group] specialising in comic narrative where he used the name Utei Enba and became the leading practitioner of rakugo (comic recitals where the performer plays two or more characters) and also achieved a considerable degree of literary fame when he published his book Rakugo rokuji [The Six Meanings of Rakugo].

    The style of the composition shows an affinity with the techniques used in Toto meisho ichiran [Famous Places in the Eastern Capital at One Glance] published in 1800, Miyakodori [Birds of the Capital] published in 1802 and Ehon Sumidagawa ryogan ichiran [The Illustrated Book of Both Banks of the Sumida River] published c. 1803. This was during a period in which Hokusai was experimenting with perspective as seen from viewpoints of differing heights and attempting to raise the horizon and thus increase the depth of the view and at the same time giving himself the opportunity to depict finely drawn and relevant characters in the foreground.

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    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN FAMILY