Paul Binnie, Yoshitoshi's Ghosts, Tattoo Design, A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo

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Artist: Paul Binnie (1967-)
Title: Yoshitoshi's Ghosts
Series: A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo
Date: 2004
Size: 29.1 × 42.8 cm
Condition: Very good.

Original Japanese woodblock print.

The Yoshitoshi print plays a sort of joke, as it shows the moment after a famous design by him, as it might be imagined. The large tattoo on the back is derived from Moonlight over Mount Yoshino of 1886, one of the artist’s One Hundred Aspects of the Moon series, where a court lady, Iga no Tsubone, chastises the ghost of Kiyotaka for haunting the emperor.

In this tattoo, we see what might have happened as a result, while the model’s leg is tattooed with the demon Ibaraki, who moments before appeared in the 1889 print from the Thirty-Six Ghosts and Demons series, gripping Sadanobu’s sword-hilt, but who here has lost its arm. Both of these dramatic and bloody images connect with Yoshitoshi’s own love of gory imagery in his work, but the rising smoke from the incense burner reminds us of Yugiri, Genji’s Lover in the Hundred Aspects print of 1886, which shows a more poetic side to the Meiji artist, and here the smoke-spirit is rendered in white lacquer.

The cartouche illustration is drawn from a print of 1865 called the Greedy Hag, from the Tale of the Tongue-Cut Sparrow, and in this print the seal is based on the disfigured, skull-like head of Oiwa, one of the most chilling ghost stories in Kabuki.

More Information
Print Format Dai-Oban
Artist Name Paul Binnie
Title Yoshitoshi's Ghosts
Subject Contemporary, Tattoo
Dimensions 29.1 × 42.8 cm
Condition Report Very good.