Taiso Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892) Sagaminokami Hojo Takatoki pestered by Tengu in the Debauches of Later Life, 1883. Oban.
This dramatic print is from a series of thirty-three prints called Yoshitoshi’s Courageous Warriors. The exuberant piece illustrates the weak minded shogun Takatoki who ruled Japan in the fourteenth century. He retired early from public life and indulged in excessive debauchery and luxury. He was considered at the time to be barely sane and his weakness led to the Nanboku-cho wars between the rival imperial families. Takatoki committed suicide in 1333.
Yoshitoshi pictures Takatoki being tormented and mocked by tengu - mythical bird-like demons - which he attempts to fend of with an open fan. The print is a subtle character study of the mental instability that comes of too much power and also an arresting and brilliant design. The print evokes the etchings of Goya - prints that Yoshitoshi might well have been aware of - particularly the similarly themed and designed The Sleep of Reason Brings Forth Demons. Like the Goya, this print illustrates the nightmare of paranoia and insanity with a fine realism.
This complex design is finely drawn and executed, the colour and condition are very good, especially the extensive use of bokashi shading. Full size with margins.
Signed Yoshitoshi ga. Published by Kobayashi Tetsujiro.
34cm x 25cm.