Moon and Smoke

by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

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Moon and Smoke  by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

Original Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892) Japanese Woodblock Print
Moon and Smoke

100 Aspects of the Moon (Tsuki hyakushi)

One Hundred Aspects of the Moon - Considered his masterwork, Yoshitoshi's series One Hundred Aspects of the Moon features one hundred oban size woodblocks, published between 1885 and 1892. These quiet and reflective prints, beautifully composed and drawn, feature subjects from traditional Japanese and Chinese history and legend, rendered with great sensitivity and emotion. The moon appears in all but a few prints, providing a unifying motif for the series.

Yoshitoshi's innovative designs for the Moon series are often elegantly spare, with simple backgrounds that focus attention on the human figure. He combines the western influences of realism and perspective with qualities from traditional Japanese and Chinese painting, such as the emphasis on calligraphic brushstroke. The figures are carefully drawn with beautiful linework, conveying a real sense of individual character, gesture, and emotion. Special printing techniques such as embossing and burnishing add a sumptuous touch where appropriate, but simple subjects are conveyed in a likewise manner, no less carefully observed.

Prints from the series were released singly or in groups every few months, with the final image completed shortly before Yoshitoshi's death. The series proved tremendously popular, with patrons lining up to purchase the new releases as soon as they became available. Today, One Hundred Aspects of the Moon remains Yoshitoshi's most well-known work, characterized by his artistry, compassion, and sensitivity in portraying the human experience.

Moon and Smoke - Stunning Yoshitoshi design depicting a fireman holding a matoi or brigade standard as he watches flames engulfing the city. He stands calmly facing the raging fire, his duty as a standard-bearer for his company to wait atop a rooftop signaling the location of the fire to his men. The stitching on his quilted jacket is carefully detailed, and the robe bears the name of his company. Fires were common in the city due to the tightly packed wooden houses and buildings, and different brigades competed to extinguish blazes and receive rewards. The fire-fighting troops who fought these conflagrations were considered exciting and colorful characters and reached heroic status among the townspeople. Here, Yoshitoshi depicts a quieter moment during the chaos. As the fire, smoke, and glowing embers drift across the scene, a standard-bearer for a rival brigade can be seen atop a distant roof at lower right. The full moon glows high in the night sky, echoing the circle atop the standard. A fantastic design and one of the masterworks of Yoshitoshi's "Hundred Moon" series.

Artist - Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

Image Size - 12 7/8" x 8 5/8" + margins as shown

Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Some slight thinning at right edge, repaired. Please see photos for details. Excellent overall.

Moon and Smoke  by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)
Moon and Smoke  by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)