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 Moon of Ogurusu in Yamashiro - Handsome illustration from the story of Akechi Mitsuhide, an ambitious warrior who persuaded the emperor to name him shogun after his assassination of a rival. Toyotomi Hideyoshi, another rival, marched on Kyoto and repeatedly routed Mitsuhide's forces. As Mitsuhide fled to his castle in Yamashiro following his defeats, he was ambushed by a group of peasants and killed. He was only shogun for 13 days. Here, a farmer waits among a clump of bamboo with a sharpened bamboo spear, watching as Mitsuhide rides horseback along the road, dressed in a fine suit of armor. The peasant strikes a bold pose, his feet firmly spread as he lunges to the side, a kama or sickle tucked under his sash. A great composition with the bamboo framing the scene, and the moon glowing softly above the distant mountains.
Artist - Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)
Image Size - 13" x 8 3/4" + margins as shown
Condition - Nice color and printing quality. Minor soiling. Small spot in margin. Good overall, see photos.