Pair of 19th Century Japanese Woodblocks by Utagawa Kuniyoshi in Custom Frames. Each set in a custom matted ebony and gilt decorated custom frame finely matter. The pair signed and dated on reversed.
-Three Courtman drinking sake and admiring the full moon, 1788-1861
-A lady admiring the chrysanthemum flower 1785-1864.
Utagawa Kuniyoshi 1798 – 1861
The vogue for full-body tattoos of interlaced characters, animals and fish, the full arms and backs that writhe with complex figures and designs can be directly traced not only in their drawing but in their conception to the Japanese woodblock artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi. It was he, whilst trying to establish a flagging career in the 1820’s in Edo (Tokyo) Japan, that conceived of decorating heroic, supernatural warriors with florid designs to emphasise their toughness and in some part to elaborate on their narrative.
Kuniyoshi was born Yoshisaburo and like Kunisada was apprenticed to the great woodblock artist Toyokuni I at his Utagawa School 1811. Kuniyoshi showed prodigious talent but unlike his colleague Kunisada failed to find commissions and it was not until the late1820’s that he discovered his own style and overnight success with the release of his series of warrior prints Tūszoku Suikoden gōketsu hyakuhachinin no hitori – The 108 Heroes of the Popular Suikoden (1827). The novelty of these extraordinary, richly embellished and colourful single sheet prints made him successful and went on to heavily influence Japanese fashion and culture.