Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, Tokimune, Soga Brothers, One Hundred Aspects of the Moon

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Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (1839-1892)
Title: Mountain Moon after Rain, Tokimune
Series title: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
Date: 1885
Size: 23.9 x 35.7 cm
Condition: Slightly trimmed, light soiling, stains on the back.

'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.

A particularly favourite subject in ukiyo-e, 'The Soga Brothers' follows two brothers seeking to avenge their murdered father, recounting their trials and hardships along the way. When they were only young boys, their father was murdered by the retinue of Kudo Suketsune, a retainer of a twelfth-century warlord. The brothers swear revenge and eventually complete their quest, while dying an honourable death. This design captures one of the brothers, Goro Tokimune. He looks up at a hototogisu (Japanese cuckoo), a symbol for the transience of life, of melancholy and loneliness, almost foretelling the brave man's outcome. Yoshitoshi portrays his young face at an unusual angle, as if Tokimune contemplates the presence of the bird and his own destiny. The delicate grain of the woodblock stands out in the background, giving texture and substance to the image.

More Information
Print Format Oban (Vertical)
Artist Name Yoshitoshi Tsukioka
Title Mountain Moon after Rain, Tokimune
Subject Samurai & Male
Dimensions 23.9 x 35.7 cm
Condition Report Slightly trimmed, light soiling, stains on the back.
Series One Hundred Aspects of the Moon