Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, Fujiwara no Yasumasa Playing the Flute, One Hundred Aspects of the Moon

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Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (1839-1892)
Title: The Moon of the Moor, Yasumasa
Series title: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
Date: 1888
Size: 24.4 x 35.7 cm
Condition: Crease on the right margin, light soiling.

'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.

In this design Yoshitoshi returns to one of the most iconic subjects from his career, also rendered as a painting in 1882 and triptych in 1883 after the publisher Akiyama Buemon recognised its potential as a woodblock print.

Fujiwara no Yasumasa was a famous musician at the Heian court. His brother, Hakamadare Yasusake, also known as Kidomaru, became an outlaw and later one evening, needing some new robes, crept behind Yasumasa intending to attack and strip him. However, before the strike, he was mesmerised by Yasumasa's playing of the flute. Yasumasa recognises him and treats him kindly, giving him a much needed robe. While previous designs shows the scene from the front, in this single print Yoshitoshi portrays the two men from a different angle, emphasising Yasumasa's jaunty movements as he swings along to the sound of his own playing.

More Information
Print Format Oban (Vertical)
Artist Name Yoshitoshi Tsukioka
Title The Moon of the Moor, Yasumasa
Subject Samurai & Male
Dimensions 24.4 x 35.7 cm
Condition Report Crease on the right margin, light soiling.
Series One Hundred Aspects of the Moon