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#JP1-47052

Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

Chang E Flees to the Moon

Series: 100 Views of the Moon
Medium: Woodblock Print
Date: 1885
Size (H x W): 14.5 x 9.5 (inches)
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
Seals: Yoshitoshi
Signature: Yoshitoshi
Condition: Very fine color, very good impression, light original album backing, wood grain apparent, embellished with embossing.

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Description

In Chinese mythology, Chang E is the woman in the moon. She was the wife of a heroic archer who was rewarded for his services to the gods by a gift of the elixir of immortality. In her husband’s absence, she stole the potion and drank it herself. She then ascended to the moon and became a goddess, though some versions of the tale state that she was turned into a three-legged frog as punishment. Yoshitoshi captures Chang E in her ascent, rising above the yellow and grey of the clouds to the blushing moon. As the ribbons of her robes curl in the wind, she glances down at the small frog atop the empty jade container. 

About the artist

The son of a Tokyo physician, Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (né Kinzaburo Yoshioka) is considered one of the last great masters of ukiyo-e. As a young boy he showed remarkable talent and began to study under the renowned Kuniyoshi at the age of 12. Yoshitoshi also studied under Yosai and was adopted by the Tsukioka family.

 

As modernization pushed ahead, Yoshitoshi suffered a nervous breakdown in 1872, living in poverty and ceasing all artistic production. A year later, he resumed working; adopting the artist name Taiso and fulfilling his creative potential. In 1885, he began one of his most acclaimed series, 100 Views of the Moon. In the spring of 1892, he suffered his final mental breakdown and was committed to the Sugamo Asylum. On the 9th of June 1892, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 53.

 

Yoshitoshi’s prints are known for their eerie and imaginative nature. He worked in a Japan undergoing rapid change, straddling the domains of the old, feudal systems and the new, modern world. His considerable imagination and originality imbued his woodblock prints with a sensitivity and honesty rarely seen in ukiyo-e of this time period. From ghost stories to folktales, graphic violence to the gentle glow of the moon, Yoshitoshi not only offers compositional and technical brilliance, but also unfettered passion.