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Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)

Sumiyoshi Full Moon: Lord Teika

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Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
Sumiyoshi Full Moon: Lord Teika
One Hundred Views of the Moon
Woodblock Print
14" x 9"
Very good color and impression, light surface soiling and wear, embellished with black lacquer-like burnishing

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Questions about this piece? 212.688.0188


Akiyama Buemon

About the art

Sumiyoshi Shrine was dedicated to the god of poetry and located on a scenic beach near present- day Osaka. In this print, Fujiwara no Sadaie, also known as Teika, sleeps soundly on the stairs of the shrine. Perhaps he fell asleep while watching the full moon. As the man’s chin rests on his chest, the god appears in a dream, emerging from the darkness. It was said that this wise deity would appear in dreams or visions to people who visited the shrine, especially if the visitors were also poets. Yoshitoshi emphasizes the mystical nature of the god through the smoky effect of a difficult process called atenashi bokashi, or “borderless printing.”

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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