Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892) One Hundred Aspects of the Moon: Wang Zhang Ling, 1887. Oban.
This very fine print is from Yoshitoshi’s most famous and successful series, One Hundred Aspects of the Moon. Considered to be his finest work, it occupied the last seven years of his life, each new print being issued at intervals of a few months. The public interest in the series was intense and made Yoshitoshi, after years of financial hardship, famous and secure. There is a great deal of academic speculation as to the narrative of the series; most of the prints draw upon scenes of Chinese and Japanese history and mythology and each contains an image of the moon, but there is no clear theme and no commentary. Yoshitoshi was sceptical of the Meiji rush to modernisation and it is generally accepted that the series is a fond reflection of the past. Stylistically the prints are modern, unique and easily recognisable. Yoshitoshi developed a style that owed much to western influence and there is a tension here between what is represented and how it is rendered. The series remains hugely collectible and prices for early editions such as this one remain high.
The print illustrates a poem by the great 8th century Chinese poet Wang Zhang Ling:
The night is still and a hundred flowers are fragrant in the western palace - she orders the screen to be rolled up, regretting the passing of spring - with the qin across her lap she gazes at the moon - the colors of the trees are hazy in the indistinct moonlight.
It’s an exceptional print; sophisticated and delicately realised. It is in near perfect condition with strong colour, a fine impression and very fine condition. The writing in the left margin is the artist's address which only appears in early editions.
Note; there are many posthumous prints from the original, worn blocks circulating and it is wise to be cautious when purchasing from this series.
The print is illustrated in John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi’s One Hundred Aspects of The Moon, Redmond, WA: San Francisco Graphic Society 1992 plate 54.
36cm x 24cm.