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Kitagawa Ivory

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Posted 4 years ago


(3 items)

These are Kitagawa Ivory statues that my mother gave me. They either belonged to my grandfather or great grandfather. I would love to know more about them if anyone can help. One pic is of the bottom of smaller statue. It popped off of its teak base and has some glue still on it


  1. Chaddiesgirl, 4 years ago
    Did a little more research. Smaller one is Buddha on a lotus bed, and the taller one (7") is Jurojin
  2. milousmc milousmc, 4 years ago
    short preamble on this then about 1/3 way down you get the final result

    The Kitagawa family of Tokyo has operated an ivory importing business since the late 19th century. You say you received the statuettes from family they were carved before WORLD WAR II and were given sometimes in the early part of 1900 .. Japan and the United States were enemies during World War II, and trade between the two countries was impossible.after that the economic conditions prevented many fine art trades . THERE IS A CHANCE THAT they were aquired in Hong KONG from a third party However ,e there was and still is a very lively trade in IVORY THE STATUETTES ARE valuable, but their price depends on not just their age and maker
    I (saw no name ), but also their style and quality. and whether there is a signifgant amount of cracking from age they are almost museum Quality w. these appear to be much older than I THOUGHT at first after enlarging them it is possible they were carved no later than 1912 or Even as much as 25 years before that . YOU HAVE a very nice couple of carvings there is very little discoloration no cracking that the photos show and the detail work is of a master /monk. or buddist priest/.

    world warIII had little effect on EXPORT sites not located on mainland JAPAN still operating independently throughout theSecond World war THE primary ARTISANS were in JAPAN.
    The JAPANESE exporters and busines men were very proficent in their trade . They had aquired connections through out the Western World . IT IS A POSSIBiLITY THAT Kitagawa Nebsuyoshi had an influence on the business
    AS Exporters and Importers JAPANESE Familys were able to make great use of one of their ansestors ,many paintings and art some of which was risque for its time born 1753
    either in Kyoto, Osaka or Edo (present-day Tokyo), Kitagawa ), original name Kitagawa Nebsuyoshi.-- DIED -- September 20th 1806.
    Japanese master of wood-block p paintings Japanese color-print artist, be known for his portrayals of women. Although he enjoyed enormous success during his lifetime of the greatest masters of the Ukiyo-e school of Japanese wood-block printing, excelled in the exotic portrayal of Japanese women .Many .. Were his desendants. some were apprentices and learned the trade which the family expanded to include other art forms and even , I am told porcelin . The OWNERS contracted out work to artisans of the time some names in the IVORY CARVING BUSINESS HAD AS much Influence and power in the JAPANESE Culture as Leonardo Da Vinci or Michael Angelo had with the italian Wealthy . MUCH of the JAPANESE CARVINGS were for Religious , military honor, DEATH rites , and Japanese Carved Ivory Netsuke Figure,s used in every day life like a zipper on your pocket book or change purse because of the clothing the time

    Below I have annotated how I finally arrived at a time period that seems accurate
    Kitagawa Ivory Work Shop"-Manufacturer & Exporter."

    "NO. 49, 3-Chome, denotes only item number and 3 colors (ASAKUSA) THE AREA near TOKYO where many artist of the art of carving learned their trade
    ....The Meiji period or Meiji era (???? Meiji-jidai) lasted from September 1868 through July 1912. ... a time of rapid change, modernization and Westernization. "Senzoku-Cho" APPARENTLY A STRUCTURE part of the buddist temple comples , the spelling also gives clues to the time period
    "Daitoku"-ji (??? ?) is a Buddhist temple, one of fourteen autonomous branches of the Rinzai school of Japanese Zen. It is located in Kita-ku, Kyoto, Japan note this is a location for munks Daitoku-ji originated as a small monastery founded in 1315 or 1319 by the monk Sh?h? My?ch?

    KITAGUAWAs relatives in part
    It is generally agreed that he "Utamaroe ""became a pupil of the painter Toriyama Sekien while he was still a child, and there are many authorities who believe that Utamaro was his son as well. He lived in Sekien's house while he was growing up, and the relationship continued until Sekien's death in 1788.

    Sekien was originally trained in the aristocratic Kano school of painting, but in middle age he started to lean toward the popular (or ukiyo-e) school. Sekien is known to have had a number of other pupils, none of any distinction.

    Utamaro, in common with most Japanese, changed his name as he became mature, and took the name Ichitaro Yusuke as he became older. He apparently also married, although little is known about his wife, and he apparently had no children.

    His first major professional artistic work, at about the age of 22, in 1775, seems to have been the cover for a Kabuki playbook, under the go (art-name) of Toyoaki. He then produced a number of actor and warrior prints, along with theatre programmes, and other such material. From the spring of 1781, he switched his go to Utamaro, and started painting and designing fairly forgettable woodblock prints of women.

    At some point in the middle 1780s, probably 1783, he went to live with the young rising publisher Tsutaya Juzaburo, with whom he apparently lived for about 5 years. He seems to have become a principal artist for the Tsutaya concern. His output of prints for the next few years was sporadic, as he produced mostly illustrations for books of kyoka (literally 'crazy verse', a parody of the classical waka form). He seems to have produced nothing at all that has survived in the period 1790-1792.

    In about 1791 Utamaro gave up designing prints for books and concentrated on making half-length single portraits of women rather than prints of women in groups, as favoured by other ukiyo-e artists. It was in 1793 that he really achieved success as an artist, and at this point his semi-exclusive arrangement with the publisher Tsutaya Juzaburo was broken. He then went on to produce a number of very famous series, all featuring women of the Yoshiwara district.

    Over the years, he also occupied himself with a number of volumes of nature studies and shunga. In 1797, Tsutaya Juzaburo died, and Utamaro apparently was very upset by the loss of his long-time friend and supporter. Some commentators feel that his work after this never reached the heights it did before.

    In 1804, at the height of his success, he ran into legal trouble by publishing prints related to a banned historical novel. The prints. entitled Hideyoshi and his 5 Concubines, depicted the military ruler Toyotomi Hideyoshi's wife and concubines; Consequently, he was accused of insulting Hideyoshi's dignity. He was sentenced to be handcuffed for 50 days (some accounts say he was briefly imprisoned). According to some sources, the experience crushed him emotionally and ended his career as an artist.

    He died two years later, on the 20th day of the 9th month, 1806, aged about fifty-three, in Edo.

    After Utamaro's death, his pupil Koikawa Shuncho continued to produce prints in his mentor's style, and took over the go Utamaro until 1820; these are now referred to as the work of "Utamaro II". After 1820 he changed his go to Kitagawa Tetsugoro, and produced his subsequent work under that name.

    Retrospective Observations
    Utamaro produced over two thousand prints during his working career, along with a number of paintings, surimono, many illustrated books, including over thirty shunga books and albums, etc.

    Among his best known works are the series Ten Studies in Female Physiognomy; A Collection of Reigning Beauties; Great Love Themes of Classical Poetry (sometimes called Women in Love containing individual prints such as Revealed Love and Pensive Love); and Twelve Hours in the Pleasure Quarters.

    He alone, of his contemporary ukiyo-e artists, achieved a national reputation during his lifetime. His sensuous female beauties are generally considered the finest and most evocative bijin-ga in all of ukiyo-e. He succeeded in capturing subtle aspects of personality, and transient moods, of women of all classes, ages, and circumstances. His reputation has remained undiminished since; his work is known worldwide, and he is generally regarded as one of the half-dozen greatest ukiyo-e artists of all time.
  3. Chaddiesgirl, 4 years ago
    Wow thank you! I just got a very interesting history lesson. When my mother gave them to me she told me to take extra special care of them because they've been in the family a long time and amid all the antiques in the house they were among the more valuable. My great grandfather was in WW1 and most of the stuff I inherited is from that era or late 1800's
  4. milousmc milousmc, 4 years ago
    I am sorry but I may not have been clear about the information abo the location of the place weere the items were carved .. I think I forgot to put that where I said I annotatede information . APPARENTLY all I did was show the annotation I broke down each word.
    I failed to be clear about that , dorry igot so interested i the history ,

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