The mock-up laid-out draft of an unidentified story by Sadahide with his orig. illustrations, entitled on upper cover label “Gyokuransai Sadahide ga sokobon” [“Gyokuransai Sadahide’s Draft Book”].

16 double-page illus. & 6 full-page illus., each with text. 20 folding leaves. 8vo (169 x 120 mm.), orig. patterned orange wrappers, manuscript title label on upper cover, new stitching. [Japan: ca. 1848-68].

A handsome musha-e yomihon mock-up draft with drawings by Sadahide Utagawa (1807-79), for an as yet unidentified historical story based on the early heroes and stories of Japan, involving Nobunaga Oda (using the name “Harunaga Oda”), Hideyoshi Toyotomi (“Hiyoshimaru Heikichiro”), and Ieyasu Tokugawa (“Inuchiyo Saida”). It was likely inspired by a biography of Hideyoshi entitled Taikoki.

Sadahide Utagawa joined Kunisada’s studio in the 1820s and became one of his best students. As a member of the Utagawa school, Sadahide took on that name as his last name. He immediately became well-known for his bijin-ga portraits of beautiful women but also mastered a number of other styles, including landscapes, musha-e warrior prints, and illustrations of exotic places. He “found his special métier as a designer of what have become known as Yokohama-e. He was sufficiently well thought of by his contemporaries to be chosen, with ten other print-makers, to present specimens of his work at the Paris Exhibition of 1866, and was awarded the order of the Légion d’honneur for his prints. The books to which he contributed prints of the Yokohama-e type are few, but they are among the most remarkable curiosities of nineteenth-century book illustrations.”–Hillier, The Art of the Japanese Book, p. 926–(& see pp. 926-35 for Sadahide’s achievements).

Sadahide produced and illustrated a series of musha-e yomihon stories, and this is clearly one of the series. It is most unusual that he also wrote the text.

While the drawings are not highly finished, they reveal the enormous energy Sadahide brought to musha-e yomihon illustrations.

Fine condition.

Price: $9,500.00

Item ID: 6817

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