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.
Monkey Music Moon - Interesting scene of a samurai watching as an audience gathers for a Noh performance at New Year, a traditional custom to entertain the emperor's envoy on his visit to the shogun in Edo. Called "sarugaku" or "monkey music," the comic song and dance play was hugely popular with the townspeople, who can be seen jostling for good seats, umbrellas in hand in case of rain. In contrast to the lively crowd outside, the dignified daimyo stands stiffly in his formal court attire, his gray kamishimo patterned with an intricate design of dots forming stylized waves, the long fabric of the pants trailing beneath his feet. An elegant screen at right is decorated with a crane, splashing waves, and red sun, while clouds drift across the crescent moon above in the early morning. Nicely detailed.
Artist - Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)
Image Size - 13" x 8 3/4"
Condition - With excellent color and detail. Backed with paper. Some soiling and toning. Please see photos for details.