#JP1-46943
Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)

Jade Rabbit: Sun Wukong

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#JP1-46943
Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
Jade Rabbit: Sun Wukong
Series:
100 Views of the Moon
Medium:
Woodblock Print
Date:
1889
Size:
14.5" x 9.5"
Signature:
Yoshitoshi
Condition:
Very fine color and impression,light original album backing, embellished with embossing, woodgrain visible.

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Details

Publisher:
Akiyama Buemon
Seals:
Taiso

About the art

Songoku, the Monkey King, or Sun Wukong in Chinese, is the hero of the Chinese novel The Journey to the West. He was a mischievous deity whose pranks wreaked havoc in Heaven. To atone for his misdeeds, he was assigned to serve as a bodyguard for a pious monk travelling between China and India carrying the Buddhist scriptures. In this print, Songoku holds his iron spear, cavorting with another legendary animal, the Jade Rabbit. According to Chinese tradition, this immortal rabbit can be seen silhouetted against the full moon. 

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 component. 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 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.

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