Series; The Loyal Heroes of the Hakkenden
Tachihara Inuki - This reprint is the work of the Japanese woodblock print artist Tachihara Inuki, who dedicated himself to carrying on the traditional methods and materials of ukiyo-e. Self-taught, he studied the original paper, pigments, and printing methods used by Edo era masters, using them to produce his own original works as well as a limited number of reprints of famous ukiyo-e designs, including a small number of masterwork designs by Kuniyoshi and other artists. His woodblocks are exquisite, with exceptionally fine carving and printing. In 1995, the artist changed his name from Katsuhara Shinya to Tachihari Inuki. Born in 1951, Tachihara died of a sudden illness on July 31, 2015, at the age of 64. We acquired this extremely rare reprint directly from the estate of the printer. Tachihara was the subject of a 2015 retrospective exhibition at the Hagi Uragami Museum in Yamaguchi Prefecture, recognizing his incredible skill and artistry and honoring his commitment to carrying on this classic Japanese art form.
Oniwakamaru and the Giant Carp - Terrific Kuniyoshi design from the tale of Oniwakamaru (the future warrior monk Benkei) and the giant carp. While studying at a temple, the young Oniwakamaru learned that a giant carp had eaten his mother when she fell into a pool at the foot of Bishamon Waterfall. He immediately left his studies and hunted down and killed the monster to avenge her death. Here, he stands at the edge of a rocky outcropping, peering over the edge at the enormous creature as it swims past, waiting for the moment to attack. He scowls angrily, firmly gripping his sword in one hand while pulling back his pants with the other. The fish glides silently beneath the surface, its curving body echoing the curving movement of the flowing water, the tip of its tail twisting above the pool. It dwarfs the young samurai, suggesting the immensity of the task the boy faces to achieve his revenge. The contrast between the crisp line work of the figures and shore, and the intentional blurred edges of the fish emphasizes the difference between the worlds of nature and man. The water is masterfully shaded, adding a sense of mystery and depth to this fantastic image. A dramatic Kuniyoshi composition, and a wonderful illustration from this legendary story.
This reprint - This incredible triptych is one of Kuniyoshi's great masterpieces. The Edo era original is simply non-existent in the market. Despite our enormous buying volume in the last ten years, we have never before seen this reprint. When this exceptional reprint was offered for sale in Japan, several of the world's leading dealers commented that they had never seen this reprint before and were unaware that it existed. That accumulated experience is unparalleled and speaks to the rarity of this item. We know of two originals in museum collections only. This is an exceedingly rare design and a terrific example of Kuniyoshi's mastery at depicting a famous subject with an original interpretation. The reprint we are offering is in beautiful condition, finely detailed and colored. Stamped Katsuhara Shinya on reverse of left panel. Don't miss this rare opportunity to acquire a fantastic Kuniyoshi design.
Artist - Kuniyoshi (1797 - 1861)
Image Size - 14 3/8" x 30 1/4" + margins as shown
Condition - This reprint with excellent color and detail as shown. Three separate panels. It has never been mounted or framed. A couple light creases at edge of each panel. No holes, tears, or other damage. Please see photos for details. Excellent condition overall.