The Night is Still

by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

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The Night is Still by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

Original Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892) Japanese Woodblock Print
The Night is Still

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.

The Night is Still - Handsome portrait of a slender-necked Chinese noblewoman instructing her attendant to roll up the reed blinds so she can enjoy a view of the full moon in the evening sky. Yoshitoshi's inspiration for this scene comes from a verse by the 8th century Chinese poet Wang Changling:

The night is still and a hundred flowers are fragrant in the western palace
she orders the screen to be rolled up, regretting the passing of spring
with the yunhe across her lap she gazes at the moon
the colors of the trees are hazy in the indistinct moonlight.

The yunhe mentioned in the poem is the black lacquer instrument across her lap, a Chinese zither from which the Japanese koto is derived. Wonderful detail in the elegant interior setting and exotic robes worn by the beauty, with burnishing on the zither.

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. Backed with paper. Please see photos for details. Nice overall.

The Night is Still by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)
The Night is Still by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)