Kunisada: Twelve zodiac animalsKunisada: Twelve zodiac animals
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Kunisada: 12 TierkreiszeichenKunisada: 12 Tierkreiszeichen
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Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III) (1786-1865)

Title: Ukiyo (bijin) jûni-shi (Twelve zodiac animals compared to beauties of the floating world)

A complete small-format bijin series by the artist, mounted into an accordion-style leporello, with light blue embossed cardboard cover and handwritten title slip. Light grey facing-paper with a second handwritten title slip (extending the title by "bijin", and with names of artist and author).

12 old mounted woodblock prints and a title woodblock print showing a rising sun with plum blossom, pine and bamboo, titled: "Ukiyo jûnishi", with signature Toyokuni ga with Toshidama seal, as well as author's signature Ôga saku with Kakihan.

Author: Mantei Ôga (1818-1865), Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III, 1786-1865)

Each woodblock print is signed Toyokuni ga, and text with name cartouche Mantei Ôga jutsu.

Censor seal on each print: Fukatsu Ihei

Publisher: Jôshûya Jûzô (Kinjûdô), Edo

Date: 1843-46

Format: Orihon album (leporello), 22,5 x 16,7cm. Print sizes: each 17,5 x 12 cm, title page 18,5 x 12,5 cm

A complete series of twelve portraits of beautiful ladies at various occupations, related to the twelve signs of the Japanese zodiac. In the roundel cartouches on each print the corresponding zodiac animal in the shape of a folk art figurine or a popular toy, together with the corresponding trigram (hakke) of the Ekikyô (chin. I Ching). The beautiful woodblock print illustrations by Kunisada are accompanied by texts of the famous author Mantei Ôga.

Corners of binding slightly rubbed, slightly soiled. Inside in excellent condition. The prints all in excellent, strong impression, partly with relief printing, in excellent colours. Only minimal stains. Illustrated title print slightly soiled, with wormhole. Overall fine condition.
This series extremely rare. Mentioned at Graebner, Kunisada.de (No. 472, not verifiable). Marks, Publishers, P6675, dating 1845/46. New Diet Library info:ndljp/pid/9369924 (retrieved 4.5.19), dat. 1840, with title transcriptions. On Mantei cf. e.g. Kraft, Vol. III, p. 288 (and nos. 179, 603)

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