Help in identifying woodblock print

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Help in identifying woodblock print


Can anyone help me identify the following woodblock print?

Thanks in advance!


  • a.canepa

    I also own the following prints that I haven't identified yet.

    Any help much appreciated.

    Note: they have been in my family for ages. I don't intend to sell. Just want to know more.




  • Horst

    Your first print (the kneeling lady) is by Kunisada I, signing "Gototei Kunisada ga". It's a bijin frint from the series "Comic stories by the rakugo master Sanshōtei Karaku" (Ichibu senkō sokuseki banashi - Sanshōtei Karaku - 一歩線香即席噺 三笑亭可楽). Print title is "Young girl" (きむすめ - kimusume).
    Publisher Yamaguchiya Tobei and date c. 1825.

    • a.canepa

      Thank you!! I now have much to study!
      Found some links here:

      I noticed some differences between mine and the others maybe due to exposure to light:


      • Horst

        The colors of your print have faded badly.
        For an introduction see here:


        • a.canepa

          Unfortunately, you're so right about the fading. It's a trade-off between preserving art in a drawer and enjoying it out in the open. I've positioned the print in the darkest room of my house to mitigate light exposure, but even indirect sunlight over 50+ years has taken its toll.

  • manuD

    The first sumo print is by Shunwa (active 1789-1830) signing 勝春和画 Katsu Shunwa ga. The sumo wrestler is 阿武松緑之助 Ōnomatsu Midorinosuke, the publisher is Tsutaya Kichizō. Round kiwame censor seal

    The other sumo prints are by Kuniaki II

    • a.canepa

      Thank you!
      Thanks to your insight regarding Kuniaki, I found that the second to last is "Sumo-e: Odate Uzaemon from Tokyo"

      Would love to know the names of the other Sumo Fighters and some insight on the one with the two men forging metal.



  • manuD

    甲岩力蔵 Kō* Rikizō

    手柄山幾彌 Tegarayama Ikuya

    大逵羽左工門 Odate Uzaemon

    大嗚門灘右エ門 Onaruto Nadaemon

    identifying the surimono is more difficult, I'll try later if nobody else does

    • a.canepa

      I don't know Japanese but I do use Large Language Models (like chatgpt) and it recognized the following text in the surimono:





      which it translated in:

      The moon sleeplessly watches over the inn, troubled by people.

      Prepare the fishing rods for those who are coming.

      Wiping their mouths, thinking about the future.

      They ponder deeply, preparing for what lies ahead.

      Don't know how much I can trust AI in these kind of things...

  • manuD

    chatgpt didnt read it quite correctly, for example the first column should end with ん and the second one should start with  い, and the translation doesnt have much to do with the blacksmiths.

    There might be a signature behind the matting. (三番 just means no. 3)

  • MichaelO

    I don't know if this is particularly helpful but there is a Kyosai drawing for sale on-line that looks quite similar to the Blacksmith surimono posted above.  It is attributed to Kyosai. I will post a photo but additional information can be found here:

    I could not do a close comparison because of the resolution of the photo. Perhaps it is a painting?


    • a.canepa

      Thank you!
      It is exactly the same, even the writing!! Looks like it was a draft and mine is painted.
      Mine does not seam to have a seal, but to be sure I would need to unmount it from the frame.

      Would be very interesting to get in contact with Prof. Oikawa and have them compared.

      Thanks again!

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