Fragile Beauty: Historic Japanese Graphic Art

Fragile Beauty: Historic Japanese Graphic Art
Katsushika Hokusai
Sōshū Shichiri-ga-hama (Shichiri-ga-hama [beach] in Suruga Province) 1830-1833
Mackelvie Trust Collection
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Exhibition Details

Commonly known as ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world), these distinctive colour woodblock prints are among the most popular of all Japanese works of art. The carefully composed images reveal the fleeting beauty and refined pleasures of Japanese society in the last century of the Edo Period (1603–1868) when that country was largely closed to the outside world.

Comprising six themes from the repertoire of Japanese graphic artists, this exhibition explores images of tranquil landscapes and fierce battles, skillful actors and renowned beauties. From the natural world to the contrived splendour of the Yoshiwara pleasure-district, each print reveals an aspect of the culture of a lost world. 

Date
Curated by
Matthew Norman
Location
Mezzanine level
Cost
Free entry

Related Artwork

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Tsûtenkyô no momiji (Red Maple Trees at the Tsûtenkyô Bridge)
Tsûtenkyô no momiji (Red Maple Trees at the Tsûtenkyô Bridge)

Production date
circa 1834
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
234 x 350 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M78
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Not on display

Ôyama, Fujisan, Kôrai-ji-yama (No. 8, Hiratsuka: Mount Ôyama, Mount Fuji and the Mountain of Kôrai-ji)
Ôyama, Fujisan, Kôrai-ji-yama (No. 8, Hiratsuka: Mount Ôyama, Mount Fuji and the...

Production date
1850-1851
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
183 x 256 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M84
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Not on display

Kanaya, Ōigawa engan (No. 25, Kanaya: The Far Bank of the Ōi River
Kanaya, Ōigawa engan (No. 25, Kanaya: The Far Bank of the Ōi River

Production date
1833-1834
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
256 x 377 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M85
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Not on display

Sekiguchi jôsui-bata Bashôan Tsubakiyama (Bashô's Hermitage and Camellia Hill on the Kanda Aqueduct at Sekiguchi)
Sekiguchi jôsui-bata Bashôan Tsubakiyama (Bashô's Hermitage and Camellia Hill on...

Production date
1857
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
349 x 234 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M88
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Not on display

Takanawa; Horikiri no sato, hana shobu; Nakazu (Woman on Bench; Iris; Mount Fuji above Marsh Grass in Fan Shape)
Takanawa; Horikiri no sato, hana shobu; Nakazu (Woman on Bench; Iris; Mount Fuji...

Production date
1857
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
332 x 254 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M94
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Not on display

Kakuchû shinonome (Dawn inside the Yoshiwara)
Kakuchû shinonome (Dawn inside the Yoshiwara)

Production date
1857
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
361 x 245 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M91
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Not on display

Swallows and Iris Blossoms
Swallows and Iris Blossoms

Production date
1853
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
334 x 110 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M93
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Not on display

Sparrow and Wisteria
Sparrow and Wisteria

Production date
19th century
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
338 x 75 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M97
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Not on display

Mountain Gorge in Winter
Mountain Gorge in Winter

Production date
1832
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
723 x 243 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M149
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Not on display

A Samurai Awaiting the Arrival of a Courtesan
A Samurai Awaiting the Arrival of a Courtesan

Production date
early 19th century
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
213 x 185 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M70
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Not on display

A Courtesan
A Courtesan

Production date
circa 1781-1801
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
750 x 248 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M152
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Not on display

A Courtesan about to Compose A New Year's Poem on a Fan
A Courtesan about to Compose A New Year's Poem on a Fan

Production date
circa 1816
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
193 x 173 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M59
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Not on display

A Courtesan Hanging a Scroll Showing a Tiger
A Courtesan Hanging a Scroll Showing a Tiger

Production date
1818
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
202 x 188 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M67
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Not on display

Ashikaga Gyōdō-san Kumo-no-kakehashi (The Hanging-cloud Bridge at Gyōdō-san Temple near Ashikaga)
Ashikaga Gyōdō-san Kumo-no-kakehashi (The Hanging-cloud Bridge at Gyōdō-san Temp...

Production date
1827-1830
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
260 x 382 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M38
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Not on display

Sōshū Shichiri-ga-hama (Shichiri-ga-hama [beach] in Suruga Province)
Sōshū Shichiri-ga-hama (Shichiri-ga-hama [beach] in Suruga Province)

Production date
1830-1833
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
244 x 372 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M39
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Not on display

Umewaka
Umewaka

Production date
1815-1842
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
369 x 251 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M115
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Not on display

Nakamanji-rō Yatsuhashi (Courtesan Yatsuhashi of the Nakamanji-rō House)
Nakamanji-rō Yatsuhashi (Courtesan Yatsuhashi of the Nakamanji-rō House)

Production date
1815-1842
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
380 x 266 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M116
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Not on display

Imayō sugata kagami (Voluptuous Forms in the Mirror Following the Latest Trends)
Imayō sugata kagami (Voluptuous Forms in the Mirror Following the Latest Trends)

Production date
1815-1842
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
383 x 260 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M121
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Not on display

Ōgiya uchi Hanaōgi Yoshino Tatsuta (Courtesan Hanaōgi of the Ōgiya House and Her Two Apprentices Yoshino and Tatsuta)
Ōgiya uchi Hanaōgi Yoshino Tatsuta (Courtesan Hanaōgi of the Ōgiya House and Her...

Production date
1815-1842
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
368 x 264 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M128
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Not on display

Kegon no taki, santaki no sono ikkei (The Kegon Falls, One of the Three Waterfalls)
Kegon no taki, santaki no sono ikkei (The Kegon Falls, One of the Three Waterfal...

Production date
circa 1845
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
342 x 228 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M129
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Not on display

Shin-Yoshiwara Edo-chō san chōme Ōgiya uchi Hanaōgi (Courtesan Hanaogi from the Ogiya House of Edo-chō in Shin-Yoshiwara)
Shin-Yoshiwara Edo-chō san chōme Ōgiya uchi Hanaōgi (Courtesan Hanaogi from the...

Production date
1830-1840
Medium
woodcut
Size (h x w)
380 x 249 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mr Dennis R Nathan, 1972
Accession no
1972/18/3
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Not on display

Akasaka Kiribatake uchû yûkei (Night Rain at Akasaka Kiribatake)
Akasaka Kiribatake uchû yûkei (Night Rain at Akasaka Kiribatake)

Production date
1859
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
351 x 240 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M75
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Not on display

Peacock and Peony Flowers
Peacock and Peony Flowers

Production date
19th century
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
212 x 187 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M65
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Not on display

Ryûhô hakuja o kiru (Liu Bang Kills the White Serpent)
Ryûhô hakuja o kiru (Liu Bang Kills the White Serpent)

Production date
1832
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
211 x 186 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M66
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Not on display

Vases, Trays and Materials for Flower Arrangement; the Flower Shell
Vases, Trays and Materials for Flower Arrangement; the Flower Shell

Production date
Post 1821
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
218 x 182 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M23
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Not on display

Tiger in Bamboo
Tiger in Bamboo

Production date
circa 1770
Medium
ink
Size (h x w)
1600 x 800 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, on loan from a private collection
Accession no
L2013/5/1
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Not on display

The Actor Sawamura Gennosuke II
The Actor Sawamura Gennosuke II

Production date
1817-1831
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
356 x 244 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M166
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Not on display

Woman Trimming Her Nails
Woman Trimming Her Nails

Production date
1843-1845
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
708 x 249 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M43
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Not on display

Miuraya Agemaki (Courtesan Agemaki of the Miuraya House)
Miuraya Agemaki (Courtesan Agemaki of the Miuraya House)

Production date
1855
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
363 x 252 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M64
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Not on display

Woman from a Samurai Household on a Visit to a Shrine
Woman from a Samurai Household on a Visit to a Shrine

Production date
early 1830s
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
207 x 185 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M71
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Not on display

Shin-Yoshiwara Edo-chō san chōme Kado-Tamaya uchi Koimurasaki (Courtesan Koimurasaki of the Corner Tamaya House of Edo-chō in Shin-Yoshiwara)
Shin-Yoshiwara Edo-chō san chōme Kado-Tamaya uchi Koimurasaki (Courtesan Koimura...

Production date
1830-1840
Medium
woodcut
Size (h x w)
381 x 259 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mr Dennis R Nathan, 1972
Accession no
1972/18/4
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Not on display

Nagato no kuni Akama no ura ni oite Genpei ôg assen Heike ichimon kotogotoku horobiru zu (In the Great Battle Between the Minamoto and the Taira in Akama Bay in Nagato Province, the Taira Clan Is Utterly Destroyed)
Nagato no kuni Akama no ura ni oite Genpei ôg assen Heike ichimon kotogotoku hor...

Production date
circa 1845
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
367 x 271 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M135
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Not on display

Nagato no kuni Akama no ura ni oite Genpei ôg assen Heike ichimon kotogotoku horobiru zu (In the Great Battle Between the Minamoto and the Taira in Akama Bay in Nagato Province, the Taira Clan Is Utterly Destroyed)
Nagato no kuni Akama no ura ni oite Genpei ôg assen Heike ichimon kotogotoku hor...

Production date
circa 1845
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
367 x 271 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M137
View Artwork

Not on display

Nagato no kuni Akama no ura ni oite Genpei ôg assen Heike ichimon kotogotoku horobiru zu (In the Great Battle Between the Minamoto and the Taira in Akama Bay in Nagato Province, the Taira Clan Is Utterly Destroyed)
Nagato no kuni Akama no ura ni oite Genpei ôg assen Heike ichimon kotogotoku hor...

Production date
circa 1845
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
367 x 271 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M136
View Artwork

Not on display

Nakamura Utaemon IV as Kō no Moronō (top), under attack by Onoe Kikugoro III as Oboshi Yuranosuke
Nakamura Utaemon IV as Kō no Moronō (top), under attack by Onoe Kikugoro III as...

Production date
1847
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
374 x 256 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M154
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Not on display

Onoe Kikugoro III as Oboshi Yuronosuke and Nakamura Utaemon IV in an unidentified role
Onoe Kikugoro III as Oboshi Yuronosuke and Nakamura Utaemon IV in an unidentifie...

Production date
1847
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
374 x 256 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M155
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Not on display

Sangokushi Chohan hashi no zu (The Three Kingdoms: Chohan Bridge)
Sangokushi Chohan hashi no zu (The Three Kingdoms: Chohan Bridge)

Production date
1852
Medium
woodcut : nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
375 x 254 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the relatives of Mr T V Gulliver, 1939
Accession no
1939/4/9
View Artwork

Not on display

Sangokushi Chohan hashi no zu (The Three Kingdoms: Chohan Bridge)
Sangokushi Chohan hashi no zu (The Three Kingdoms: Chohan Bridge)

Production date
1852
Medium
woodcut : nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
370 x 256 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the relatives of Mr T V Gulliver, 1939
Accession no
1939/4/10
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Not on display

Sangokushi Chohan hashi no zu (The Three Kingdoms: Chohan Bridge)
Sangokushi Chohan hashi no zu (The Three Kingdoms: Chohan Bridge)

Production date
1852
Medium
woodcut : nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
370 x 256 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the relatives of Mr T V Gulliver, 1939
Accession no
1939/4/8
View Artwork

Not on display

Shrike on a Branch of a Flowering Plant
Shrike on a Branch of a Flowering Plant

Production date
circa 1810
Medium
woodcut, in black and grey
Size (h x w)
348 x 74 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M106
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Not on display

Okamotoya uchi Toyo'oka Tamino Miyono (The Courtesan Toyo'oka of the Okamotoya House)
Okamotoya uchi Toyo'oka Tamino Miyono (The Courtesan Toyo'oka of the Okamotoya H...

Production date
1815-1835
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
373 x 255 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M99
View Artwork

Not on display

Falcon on a Pine Branch, Rising Sun Above
Falcon on a Pine Branch, Rising Sun Above

Production date
1790-1804
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
722 x 246 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M151
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Not on display

Kusunoki Chihaya rôjô no zu (Kusunoki at the Siege of Chihaya)
Kusunoki Chihaya rôjô no zu (Kusunoki at the Siege of Chihaya)

Production date
1843-1846
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
368 x 271 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M138
View Artwork

Not on display

Kusunoki Chihaya rôjô no zu (Kusunoki at the Siege of Chihaya)
Kusunoki Chihaya rôjô no zu (Kusunoki at the Siege of Chihaya)

Production date
1843-1846
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
368 x 271 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M139
View Artwork

Not on display

Kusunoki Chihaya rôjô no zu (Kusunoki at the Siege of Chihaya)
Kusunoki Chihaya rôjô no zu (Kusunoki at the Siege of Chihaya)

Production date
1843-1846
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
368 x 271 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M140
View Artwork

Not on display

Eiyū-zoroi (A Gathering of Heroes)
Eiyū-zoroi (A Gathering of Heroes)

Production date
1860
Medium
ink
Size (h x w)
346 x 714 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1971
Accession no
1971/20/2
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Not on display

A Courtesan with a Roll of Papers in Her Obi
A Courtesan with a Roll of Papers in Her Obi

Production date
1830
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
187 x 137 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M69
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Not on display

Actors Ichimura Uzaemon XII as Oboshi Yuranosuke, and Iwai Kumesaburo III as Oboshi Rikiya Yoshikane
Actors Ichimura Uzaemon XII as Oboshi Yuranosuke, and Iwai Kumesaburo III as Obo...

Production date
1847
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
372 x 256 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M156
View Artwork

Not on display

Actors Sawamura Tanosuke III as Koshimoto Okaru, Bandō Hikosaburō V as Hayano Kanpei, and Nakamura Gantarō as Sagisaka Bannai
Actors Sawamura Tanosuke III as Koshimoto Okaru, Bandō Hikosaburō V as Hayano Ka...

Production date
1862
Medium
woodcut : nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
370 x 253 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the relatives of Mr T V Gulliver, 1939
Accession no
1939/4/16
View Artwork

Not on display

Tiger in Bamboo
Tiger in Bamboo

Production date
circa 1770
Medium
ink
Size (h x w)
1600 x 800 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, on loan from a private collection
Accession no
L2013/5/2
View Artwork

Not on display

Takanawa tsuki no yūbe (Moonlit Evening at Takanawa)
Takanawa tsuki no yūbe (Moonlit Evening at Takanawa)

Production date
circa 1847
Medium
woodcut - nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
232 x 357 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
M89
View Artwork

Not on display

Actors Sawamura Tanosuke III as Koshimoto Okaru, Bandō Hikosaburō V as Hayano Kanpei, and Nakamura Gantarō as Sagisaka Bannai
Actors Sawamura Tanosuke III as Koshimoto Okaru, Bandō Hikosaburō V as Hayano Ka...

Production date
1786-1865
Medium
woodcut : nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
371 x 254 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the relatives of Mr T V Gulliver, 1939
Accession no
1939/4/15
View Artwork

Not on display

Actors Sawamura Tanosuke III as Koshimoto Okaru, Bandō Hikosaburō V as Hayano Kanpei, and Nakamura Gantarō as Sagisaka Bannai
Actors Sawamura Tanosuke III as Koshimoto Okaru, Bandō Hikosaburō V as Hayano Ka...

Production date
1786-1865
Medium
woodcut : nishiki-e (full colour) technique
Size (h x w)
369 x 253 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the relatives of Mr T V Gulliver, 1939
Accession no
1939/4/14