#JP1-46921
Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)

The Moon's Invention: Hozon Temple

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#JP1-46921
Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
The Moon's Invention: Hozon Temple
Series:
100 Views of the Moon
Medium:
Woodblock Print
Date:
1891
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:
Kai

About the art

Kakuzenbo Hoin In-ei was a 16th century priest of Nara who founded a school of fencing at Hozo Temple. He was originally a member of the noble family Nakamikado and his descendants carried on the martial tradition of their ancestor well into the 19th century. In this print, Yoshitoshi imagines the creation of Hoin’s most famous invention: the kamayari or “sickle spear” As he gazes into the placid water, he finds inspiration reflected. The crescent moon perches upon his spear resembling the form the popular 16th century weapon. Yoshitoshi renders the priest with a kind face, but leave no question about his strength. 

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 art. 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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