Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)

The Ghosts of Seigen Haunting the Princess Sakura

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Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
The Ghosts of Seigen Haunting the Princess Sakura
36 Ghosts and Strange Apparitions
Woodblock Print
14.25" x 9.5"
Very good color, impression and state, embellished with silver and embossing

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Sasaki Toyokichi

About the art

A tale of starcrossed lover, Sakurahime, a famous courtesan, and Seigen, a monk fell in love.  The resulting scandal rocked Kyoto.  Seigen was expelled from his temple and Sakurahuime gave up her privledged existence to be with him.  Outraged by this Sakurahime's servant murdered Seigen.  Not only did a saintly man lose his worldly position but also his otherworldly reward.  Seigen's few weeks of ecstasy were to be paid for by an eternity of damnation.  Here, Seigen's ghost looms up behind his lover. 

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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