Taiso Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892) One Hundred Aspects of the Moon: Mount Otowa Moon - Bright God Tamura, 1886. Oban.
This hauntingly beautiful print is from Yoshitoshi’s last and most famous series, The One Hundred Aspects of the Moon. Sakanoe no Tamuramaro was an archaic general, famous for fighting the aboriginal people of Japan. He endowed a great Buddhist temple outside Kyoto. The print is taken from the Noh play of his life called Tamura. In the play, three monks visiting the temple see a youth sweeping cherry blossom; later they are told they have seen the ghost of Tamura. After spending the night chanting they see another manifestation of Tamura’s ghost, this time in the form of a general who recounts to the monks his great victories with the aid of the goddess Kannon.
Yoshitoshi illustrates the play, showing the ghost of Tamura with the deathly mask of a Noh actor; however in a deliberate twist, he also gives the same ghostly pallour to his hands. The ghost is a manifestation of both characters in the play - he is shown in the leather armour of a ninth century general and also holding a broom as cherry blossom falls around him. In the background is the temple that Tamura helped endow.
This, like all the prints in the series, is very accomplished - the block cutting, drawing and printing are of a very high quality. Both the cartouche and the white dress are heavily embossed. The slight offset mark appears in most known copies of the print including the example in Stevenson’s definitive illustrated book on the subject.
Full size and with margins, very fine impression of the first edition, fine colour and condition.
Taiso seal, engraved by Yamamoto.
38cm x 25cm.
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