Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, Cry of the Fox, Konkai, One Hundred Aspects of the Moon

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Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (1839-1892)
Title: The Cry of the Fox (Konkai)
Series title: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
Date: 1886
Size: 24.6 x 35.7 cm
Condition: Crease on the right margin, slightly trimmed, ink spotted on the left margin, small stain on the robe.

'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.

Traditionally, foxes are regarded as deceitful creatures in Japan as they possess the ability to take the form of human beings. This picture deals with Konkai (The Cry of the Fox), a play from the Kyogen drama. The story is about a hunter who is visited by his uncle, a priest by the name of Hakuzosu. After the hunter and Hakuzosu speak about the cruelty of killing foxes, the hunter realises that the man he had just had a conversation with was not his uncle but a fox in disguise. This fox later turns back into its original form and ironically gets caught in a trap.

Yoshitoshi captures the moment where the priest turns back into a fox. He still stands on his two feet, and his hand are that of a human, but he has already grown a fox's tail - marked by the abnormal bulge on his back - and his head has changed into that of a fox. The picture is mostly monochrome, but the intricate design of the snarled leaves and the engraving on the priest's headdress make this an intriguing work to observe.

More Information
Print Format Oban (Vertical)
Artist Name Yoshitoshi Tsukioka
Title The Cry of the Fox (Konkai)
Subject Animal & Birds, Spirits & Religion
Dimensions 24.6 x 35.7 cm
Condition Report Crease on the right margin, slightly trimmed, ink spotted on the left margin, small stain on the robe.
Series One Hundred Aspects of the Moon