• Home
  • -
  • Sumiyoshi Full Moon: Lord Teika

#JP110545

Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

Sumiyoshi Full Moon: Lord Teika

Series: One Hundred Views of the Moon
Medium: Woodblock Print
Date: 1887
Size (H x W): 14 x 9 (inches)
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
Seals: Taiso
Signature: Yoshitoshi
Condition: Very good color and impression, light surface soiling and wear, small wormhole, embellished with embossing and burnishing
$780.00

1 Available

Select Store to check availability.

Description

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

Considered one of the last great masters of ukiyo-e, Yoshitoshi Tsukioka's woodblock prints are known for their eerie and imaginative nature. Yoshitoshi worked in a Japan undergoing rapid change, straddling the domains of the old, feudal system of the Edo period and the new, modern world of the Meiji period. His powerful 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, violent clashes to the gentle glow of the moon, Yoshitoshi offers not only compositional and technical brilliance, but also unfettered passion.

Yoshitoshi was born in Edo on April 30th, 1839. As a young boy, he showed remarkable artistic talent and fierce interest in classical Japanese literature and history. He began to study under the renowned Kuniyoshi at the age of 11. Kuniyoshi, a leading woodblock print artist of the day, developed a close relationship with his pupil and gave him the name Yoshitoshi. Yoshitoshi Tsukioka published his first print to modest success in 1853, a triptych of a famous clash between the Taira and Minamoto clans. That same year, Commodore Perry's "black ships" docked in Edo Bay.

In the early 1860s, Yoshitoshi's prints focused on kabuki subjects and historical scenes, as well as foreigners. As the 19th century progressed, ukiyo-e felt the influence of the modern era, particularly through the introduction of synthetic dyes. Yoshitoshi learned to use these colors with subtlety and skill, holding his works to the highest printing standards throughout his career. Following Kuniyoshi's death in 1861, Yoshitoshi struggled as he set off on his own, taking Toshikage as his first student in 1863. As political instability grew in Japan during the late 1860s, he entered his "bloody period," an era marked by images of graphic violence and extravagant brutality.

As Meiji-period modernization pushed ahead, Yoshitoshi Tsukioka suffered a nervous breakdown in 1872, living in poverty and ceasing all artistic production. A year later, he resumed work; adopting the artist name Taiso, meaning "Great Resurrection," and fulfilling his creative potential. While Yoshitoshi continued to present battle scenes on his ukiyo-e woodblock prints, he turned his attention to more recent incidents and slowly shifted from overt violence to the psychological struggles of individuals. In 1885, he began one of his most acclaimed series, One Hundred Views of the Moon (1885-1892). During the last decade of his life, Yoshitoshi designed numerous illustrated books and several other popular series including Thirty-two Aspects of Women (1888) and Thirty-six Ghosts and Strange Apparitions. (1889-1892). 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.