The Moon and the Helm of a Boat

by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

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The Moon and the Helm of a Boat by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

Original Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892) Japanese Woodblock Print
The Moon and the Helm of a Boat

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 Moon and the Helm of a Boat - In this handsome scene, Kiyotsune, the son of the Taira leader Shigemori, contemplates the fate of his ruined family after the complete and bitter defeat of the Taira clan in 1183 at the naval Battle of Dan-no-ura. Sitting in the stern of the boat wearing armor and a black court cap, he plays the flute as he composes himself, preparing to commit suicide by leaping into the sea. Purple draperies bearing the Taira butterfly crest flutter in the night wind, and a yellow full moon hangs low in the sky. A striking design, beautifully composed and detailed. Includes burnishing on the black court cap and armor.

Artist - Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

Image Size - 13" x 8 3/4" + margins as shown

Condition - This print with nice color and detail as shown. A few marks, some soiling. Backed with paper. Please see photos for details. Good overall.

The Moon and the Helm of a Boat by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)
The Moon and the Helm of a Boat by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)