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.
Rainy Moon - Lovely scene of the warrior Kojima Takanori kneeling beneath a cherry tree, praying for the safety of the exiled Emperor Go-Daigo. Takanori led an attempt to rescue Go-Daigo while he was being transported to a remote location. Unable to reach the emperor, Takanori carved a poem of encouragement for him on a cherry tree, alluding to the rescue of the Chinese King of Yue, a reference only the emperor would understand. When the captive passed by the next day, he saw the verse and took heart. Here, Takanori wears a straw raincoat over his armor as rain falls straight down in white lines, a hazy yellow moon visible through the tree branches. A beautiful, poignant image, nicely detailed with burnishing in the armor and fine bokashi shading in the background.
Artist - Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)
Image Size - 13" x 8 3/4" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Slight soiling at bottom edge. Please see photos for details. Good overall.