Prints from a complete album of 'Thirty-Six New Forms of Ghosts' by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, $16,000 (£12,600) at Tremont Auctions.

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After recent approval was given to sell elements of the collection, local firm Tremont Auctions (24% buyer’s premium) began the deaccessioning process.

Some of the day’s strongest prices in the sale on February 25 were for albums of Japanese woodblock prints.

These included a complete set of Thirty-Six New Forms of Ghosts, the last major woodblock print series by Meiji master Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.

Towards the end of his life he revisited the popular tales of ghosts, demons, and the supernatural from Japanese folklore that he had drawn previously in his 20s. Pushing the medium of the woodblock print to its limit, he used students to assist in the carving of 12 different colour blocks for each design. It was published in parts between 1889 and 1892 by Sasaki Toyokichi and again by Matsuki Heikichi in 1902.

Bound in silk brocade covers, this copy included a title page and the publisher’s Imperial commendation page. Guided at $5000-7000, it sold at $16,000 (£12,600).


Prints from Thirty-two Aspects of Customs and Manners of Women by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, $13,000 (£10,300) at Tremont Auctions

The complete set of Thirty-two Aspects of Customs & Manners (Fuzoku sanjuniso) by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi hammered for $13,000 (£10,300) against an estimate of $2000-3000. This series published in 1888 amounted to a survey of bijin (female beauties) of different backgrounds and occupations from the reactionary Kansei era (1789-1800) to the more open Meiji restoration (1860-1912).

The word for ‘Aspect’ in Japanese is one borrowed from physiognomists who analysed character on the basis of physical facial features. However, it could also mean ‘flower’.