Spirit of the Plum Tree

by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

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Spirit of the Plum Tree by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

Original Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892) Japanese Woodblock Print
Spirit of the Plum Tree

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.

Spirit of the Plum Tree - Lovely portrait of the Spirit of the Plum Tree, who appeared to the Chinese poet Zhao Shixiong in his dreams after he fell asleep beneath a flowering plum tree. When he awoke under a glowing full moon, he wrote a verse about her. Here, the beauty smiles as she looks over her shoulder, holding one sleeve to her chin, and a fan in her hand. She wears exotic robes with a delicate embossed pattern in the pale yellow fabric, and a colorful comb in her ornately styled hair. She has a double chin, a mark of feminine beauty during the Tang Dynasty in China. A plum tree covered with blossoms and buds frames the night sky behind her, the moon glowing with soft pink color. Beautifully detailed with fine line in the hair and soft shading in the background.

Artist - Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

Image Size - 12 7/8" x 8 3/4" + margins as shown

Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Nicely printed with full margins. Backed with old album paper. Slight toning, a few small spots, paper strip at left edge from previous album inclusion. Please see photos for details. Good overall.

Spirit of the Plum Tree by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)
Spirit of the Plum Tree by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)