Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)

The Moon Through a Crumbling Window

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Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
The Moon Through a Crumbling Window
One Hundred Views of the Moon
Woodblock Print
13" x 9"
Very good color, impression and state, embellished with oxidation

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Akiyama Buemon
Yoshitoshi no In

About the art

The Indian prince Bodhidharma (known in Japan as Daruma) traveled from India to China to found the Zen sect of Buddhism. He sat in meditation without moving for nine years, as a result of which his legs withered away. A legend states that the monk Eka came to study with Daruma, but Daruma refused to respond and continued to meditate. Finally, Eka cut off his arm to prove his commitment to enlightenment. With this gesture, Daruma took him on as a student. In this print, Daruma sits unconcerned while the temple walls crumble around him, providing a window to the 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 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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