Moon on the Sumida River

by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

Current Status

Moon on the Sumida River by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

Original Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892) Japanese Woodblock Print
Moon on the Sumida River

100 Aspects of the Moon (Tsuki hyakushi)
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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.

Moon on the Sumida River - Handsome portrait of Mizuki Tatsunosuke, an onnagata or male actor who specialized in playing female kabuki roles. Onnagata often wore feminine clothing offstage, and here, Tatsunosuke wears a blue kimono patterned with colorful tie-dyed waves and stylized flowers, tied with a checked obi. He carries a fan and poem slip, and has a sword at his side. His unusual hairstyle combines a male topknot with longer hair in back like a woman, the shaved area of his forehead covered with a purple cloth. He strolls beneath the blossoming cherry trees along the edge of the Sumida River, a large full moon just above the horizon. An interesting design with an attractive spring landscape setting and fine bokashi shading, and a lightly embossed pattern on the white kimono collar.

Artist - Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

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

Condition - Nice color and detail. Remargined at left edge.

Moon on the Sumida River by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)
Moon on the Sumida River by Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

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