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Fujiwara no Yasumasa Plays the Flute by Moonlight or “The Flute Player” is one of Yoshitoshi’s definitive masterpieces. In his interpretation of this famous story, he captures a moment of enchantment where the beauty of music disarms hostility. Ronin Gallery is pleased to present two early impressions of this iconic work as well as other depictions of this famous story in this collection of Yoshitoshi prints for sale.
Fujiwara no Yasumasa (958-1036) was a renowned musician and poet in the Heian court. He is best known for the tale of a moonlit evening, banditry, and the power of beauty. One autumn night Yasumasa made his way home through the isolated Ichiharano moor. He played his flute as he sauntered along, thinking that he was alone amidst the tall grass, yet a bandit lay in wait. The highwayman, Hakamadare Yasusuke (also known as Kidomaru) planned to attack the lonely traveler and steal his elegant winter robes. Yet, as the music reached Yasusuke's ears, he found himself unable to attack. He became enchanted by the beauty of the music and followed Yasumasa all the way home. Upon reaching the courtier's home, the flutist noticed his unintended audience and offered Yasusuke a fine gift of clothing so that he would not go away empty-handed.