Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, Taira no Tsunemasa Playing the Biwa, One Hundred Aspects of the Moon

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Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (1839-1892)
Title: Chikubushima Moon, Tsunemasa
Series title: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
Date: 1885-1892
Size: 23.9 x 35.8 cm
Condition: Slightly trimmed, light stains on the bottom due to old glue.

'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.

Yoshitoshi captures a scene that is said to have taken place in the twelfth century, during the wars between the Taira and the Minamoto clans. Taira no Tsunemasa was a successful leader and a fine musician, a skill that was common for warriors in those times. It is said that Tsunemasa visited a shrine on Chikubu Island where a priest, aware of Tsunemasa's reputation as a lute player, brought out a biwa and asked the warrior to play. The shrine was dedicated to the goddess Benten who was so moved by the music that she appeared in the form of a white dragon and promised Tsunemasa victory in the battles to come. Yoshitoshi paid great attention to the young lord's armour, depicting it with intricate detail.

More Information
Print Format Oban (Vertical)
Artist Name Yoshitoshi Tsukioka
Title Chikubushima Moon, Tsunemasa
Subject Samurai & Male, Spirits & Religion
Dimensions 23.9 x 35.8 cm
Condition Report Slightly trimmed, light stains on the bottom due to old glue.
Series One Hundred Aspects of the Moon