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Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)

The Moon of Ogurusu in Yamashiro

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Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
The Moon of Ogurusu in Yamashiro
100 Views of the Moon
Woodblock Print
14.5" x 9.5"
Very fine color and impression, light original album backing, embellished with black lacquer and embossing, woodgrain visible.

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Questions about this piece? 212.688.0188


Akiyama Buemon

About the art

In 1582, in the village of Ogurusu in Yamashiro province, Akechi Mitsuhide killed the military leader Oda Nobunaga and proclaimed himself shogun. Lacking the proper forces to secure his power, Mitsuhide was overthrown by Toyotomi Hideyoshi after only thirteen days. Following this decisive defeat at Yamazaki, Mitsuhide fled toward his own castle at Sakamoto. As he passed through the village of Ogurusu, he was ambushed and killed by local peasants. The figure of a stalwart peasant dominates the foreground of Yoshitoshi’s unusual composition. In the distance, Mitsuhide approaches in the moonlight. Clad in the full armor and an elaborate helmet, he rides to his inglorious end. 

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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