Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, Benkei at Daimotsu Bay, One Hundred Aspects of the Moon

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Artist: Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (1839-1892)
Title: Moon Above the Sea at Daimotsu Bay
Series title: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
Date: 1886
Size: 24 x 35.8 cm

Original Japanese woodblock print.

'One Hundred Aspects of the Moon' is one of Yoshitoshi's most popular series. It contains one hundred woodblock prints depicting various, unrelated figures from Japanese and Chinese culture, with the moon as its unifying theme and exploring a range of tones and emotions for the subjects depicted. Yoshitoshi worked within a traditional art form, yet his drawings incorporated western techniques and were unlike any style that had come before him. The series was begun in 1885 and completed just before the artist's death in 1892.

Leaving his lover Shizuka at the coast of Daimotsu-no-ura, Minamoto no Yoshitsune swiftly departs on an ocean voyage with his retinue. He is fleeing his brother, now the most powerful warlord in Japan, who is attempting to assassinate his own sibling in a bout of paranoia and rumours. The crossing takes them over a stretch of sea where a large battle took place against the Taira clan. A storm rapidly descends upon them. As the men on board look out into the distance, the warriors from the Taira clan arise in the crashing waves of the sea, vengeful ghosts sworn to kill Yoshitsune. The warrior monk Benkei, Yoshitsune's closest retainer, takes to the bow, fervently reciting the Buddhist sutras and quelling the phantom uprise. During the printing process, the waves have been dusted with mica powder, giving the effect of light reflecting off the sea from the shadowy moon.

More Information
Print Format Oban (Vertical)
Artist Name Yoshitoshi Tsukioka
Title Moon Above the Sea at Daimotsu Bay
Subject Samurai & Male, Ghosts, Spirits & Religion
Dimensions 24 x 35.8 cm
Condition Report Slightly trimmed, light soiling.
Series One Hundred Aspects of the Moon