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Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)

Hojo Tokimasa Praying to the Sea Goddess

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Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
Hojo Tokimasa Praying to the Sea Goddess
Yoshitoshi Courageous Warriors
Woodblock Print
13.25" x 9"
Taiso Yoshitoshi ga
Very fine color, impression and state, embellished with mica on the wave and burnishing (lacquer-like effect) on hat, fan and armor.


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Questions about this piece? 212.688.0188


Kobayashi Tetsujiro
Yoshitoshi Taiso

About the art

The warrior Tokimasa kneels at the edge of a cliff as Enoshima's goddess of the sea, Benten, framed by the curving waves, rises from the mist cupping a sacred jewel in one hand. Yoshitoshi's use of color is both subtle and powerful - the cliffs almost appear to be one with the cresting wave, while the patterning of Tokimasa's armor is bright and stylized. This is a first edition, with the two-color cartouche and two red seals on the left margin.

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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