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    Sale 7432

    Japanese Prints, including The B.W. Robinson Collection

    7 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 602

    Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861)

    Price Realised  


    Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861)

    The complete set of five designs of graffiti from the series Nitakaragurakabe no mudagaki [Scribbles on a Storehouse Wall], signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi, published by Ibaya Sensaburo, censors' seals Kinugasa and Hama, and another design from a similar series Hakumensho kabe no mudagaki [Laughing Actors' Scribbles on a Wall], again with a 'scribbled' kana signature Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi, all good impressions, colours and condition, some trimming
    Oban tate-e (6)

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    As the portrayal of an actor in a play would have been an offence under the austerity regulations of the time, these sketches 'resemble' but do not actually 'portray' popular actors (such as Seki Sanjuro III and Onoe Baiko IV) in current theatrical performances. This is despite the fact that there are further clues in the little sketches beside the heads, each one of which is actually a rebus referring to the role played by the individual actor. The scribbled signature is in kana and is itself a little faux-naif joke indicating that the artist belongs to the less-educated class.

    For other impressions of these designs see Juzo Suzuki, Utagawa Kuniyoshi Exhibition Catalogue (Tokyo, 1996), no.270-272 and Robert Schaap, Heroes and Ghosts (Amsterdam, 1998), no.229

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