Catalogue: Japanese Woodblock Prints from David Button Collection


March 2014

JAKUCHU 1716-1800

1 Oban: Red parrot on a chestnut branch. This woodblock print was produced in the ishizuri technique where the design is reserved in white on a dark ground. The design is then over printed in colours on the white reserved areas. This design was published posthumously in 1909.


2 Oban: Blue and yellow parrot on a rose bush branch. Produced in the same way as the above.




Toyokuni’s leading pupil. After 1843 he signed Toyokuni III.

3 Oban triptych: Courtesans joining a summer boating party near Ryogoku Bridge. The title reads, Edo murasaki azuma genji,  or Courtesans of the Kanto area. The advertising sign far left reads, Daikoku-ya Mizagashi – summer sweets. Published by Tsuru-ya Kiemon. C1840.


4 Oban: A courtesan from the ‘Hundred Beauties of Edo’ in which each beauty is compared with a natural beauty spot around the capital. In this case a view of Shinagawa drawn by Kuninao. This print is one of the best designs in the group. Signed Toyokuni. Dated 1857.


5 Oban triptych: A dramatic scene from a Kabuki where a character reveals  himself to be a cat witch. The cat is portrayed by Nakamura Fukusuke. The man protecting the woman is Nakamura Shikan. The actor playing the woman is also from the Nakamura family. Published 1861.


6 CHIKANOBU YOSHUSAIOban Triptych: Saigo Taklaamuri on a horse in middle sheet observing an attack by government forces on his wife and wives of others in the group. Saigo Takamuri was originally an important figure in the new government however he later went against the government who sent forces to suppress his rebellion. Published 187 by Kiso Naojiro      $990
7 Koueisai active 1868 – 1912Oban TriptychView of horse drawn street cars between Nihonbashi and Kyobashi. Tokyo dated 1882




A leading pupil of Toyokuni and a rival of Kunisada. Leading Warrior print designer

8 Oban: Miyamoto Musashi killing a mythical beast (nue). From the series, Eight hundred heroes of our countries Suikoden are told. Published by Kagaya Kichibei 1834-5  $1750
9 Vertical Oban Diptych: A female shrine dancer dressed in an elaborate courtly costume.




A pupil of Kunyoshi.

 10 Oban triptych: A night scene of fire fighters in elaborately decorated jackets. The cinders in the air have been hand applied, a rarely seen affectation.




Pupil of Kuniyoshi

11 Oban: Westerners with a large camera in Yokahama. Printed 1870


12 Oban: A Russian couple at the port of Yokohama. Russian ship with Russian flag behind them. The woman is holding a woodblock print of another western couple. Beautiful impression and condition. Printed in 1861. Illustrated in Meech-Pekarik1986


13 Oban triptych: A scene from the battle of Dan-no-ura, a major sea battle of the Genpei War in the Straits of Shiminoseki in 1185. Published 1858




14 Oban triptych: Scene in Shin Yoshiwara, the entertainment district of Tokyo. A group of women are playing music to three courtesans while many servants are busy in the background. The interior appears to be a hybrid of Japanese and Western styles.




15 Oban: From the series Thirty Six Ghosts. The vengeful spirit of the priest Raigo who in life had been scorned by the Emperor, transforms into numerous rats and devours sacred texts belonging to the Emperor.Signed Yoshitoshi. Printed by Matsuki Heikichi in 1902


16 Oban diptych: A scene from the play Funa Benkei one of the most popular plays in the No theatre. It was also adapted for the Kabuki Theatre. Printed Meiji 1898 Yoshitoshi rarely designed Kabuki prints so the subjects in this series are drawn from No Theatre or Historical Tales


17 Oban diptych: A scene from Tengu mai, the Tengu dance. Printed Meiji 1898. From the same series as the above


18 Oban triptych: Taira no Koreshige fighting a Demon woman in Togakushi in Nagano prefecture. The title is ‘Wind storm of Togakushi’ from the series, Eight Scenes of Warriors of Good Stories. The group had been enjoying a maple viewing when the storm broke and the demon revealed herself.


19 Oban: The warrior Torii Suneemon Katsutaka leaving his masters castle to get help from Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616) after it came under attack. From the series, 24 Accomplishments in Imperial Japan. Published by Matsuki Heikichi 1893-95


20 Oban: The warrior Sato Shirobyoe Tadanobu (1160-85)  has jumped from a snow covered roof in Yoshino. Tadanobu was one of the retainers of Minamoto Yoshitsune. Published 1893-95


21 Oban: A Kyoto waitress from the Meiji era (1868-1912) adjusting the wick on an oil lamp. First edition print (15.5.1888). From the series 32 Aspects of Women.  Published by Tsunashima Kamekichi.



MOTOHARU (1858-1903) Osaka artist

22 Oban triptych: The actor Ichikawa Sadanji I in the part of Watanabe no Tsuna and Onoe Kikugoro V as the Demon. Watanabe severed the demons arm and the demon tricks him into getting it back. Ibaraki is the name of the play adapted for the Kabuki in 1883. This print was published in 1893.




23 Oban:  woman holding a landscape picture from the series, Thirty Two Fashionable Physionomies. Published by Yorozuya Mayobei in 1869.


24 Oban triptych: The dashing actor Ichikawa Sadanji in the role of handsome brave man(odokodate) Kunshiro Bozu San Kichi. He bares many scars of previous fights. Pub: 1882.


25 Oban triptych : A dramatic fight scene in the water. The woman is in the role of the daughter of Okoro played by Iwai Hanshiro. Ichikawa Danjiro, centre, in the role of Akatsuki Seiuemom and Onoe Kikugoro in the role of Miyagawa Ushinosuke. The three great Kabuki actors of the era. Published 1878.




26 Oban: Beauty reading by a screen from the series, ‘Beautitful Women for the Twelve Months’ (Bijin Junishi) Published by Akiyama Buemon in 1901


27 Oban: The actor, Ichikawa Danjiro as the character Otokonosuke. The poem and Calligraphy by Danjiro. Published 1895




28 Oban triptych: A beauty from the Kyoho era 1716-1736 from the series Ancient Patterns (Hana Moyo). Published by Takekawa Seikichi in 1896




A pupil of Toyohara Kunichika

29 Oban: Beauty from the series Jidai Kagmi (Mirror of the Ages which showcases beauties in an historical context. The colours are beautiful and the rendering of textiles is sublime. Published 1897.


30 Oban: A beauty playing with a doll from the same series as the above. Meiji period scene in the background. Pub 1897




SUKAKUDO active late 19th Century,

specialized in bird prints

31 Oban: White Falcon with blind printed feathers. Published 1871



ADACHI GINKO active 1874-1897

32 Oban triptych: Women making western clothing with sewing machines. Published 1887




33 Oban: The actor, Ichikawa Danjiro as the character Otokonosuke. The poem and Calligraphy by Danjiro. Published 1895




A pupil of Yoshitoshi

34 Oban: A powerful image actor Ichikawa Danjuro as Soga No Goro . from a set of images celebrating the great Ichikawa Danjiro. Number 30 also belongs to the set




35  Oban: The heroine Matsukaze from a Chikamatsu Monzaemon play. A set of images from various plays was published from 1922-25




36 Nakamura Takuemon as Oshichi from the series, Portraits of Actors in Various Poses.1925-29. Pub by Watanabe Shosaburo




37 Hosban: Cormorant fishing in Sekiyado. Published in 1925  by Watanabe Shosaburo




38 Oban: Calm Wind. Self published in 1937. Jizuri seal of approval top left margin


39 Oban: Market in Mukden. Self published 1937. Jizuri seal of approval top left margin



OHARA  KOSON 1877-1945

40 Oban: Chrysanthemums and running water in the Rimpa style. Published 1931 by Watanabe Shosaburo, Tokyo



HASUI KAWASE 1883-1957

41 Modan Pyongyang, Korea. The series is the Korean Views supplement. Published by Watanabe Shosaburo 1940. Early edition in pristine condition. Illustrated in Brown 2003




42 Titled Rouge this print is from the series ‘Beauties for the Twelve Months’ in the Ukiyo-e style. This is March.