Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)

The Moon of the Filial Son

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Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
The Moon of the Filial Son
100 Views of the Moon
Woodblock Print
14.5" x 9.5"
Very fine color and impression, light original album backing, embellished with embossing and metallic pigments.


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Akiyama Buemon

About the art

Cheng Shen was an important disciple of Confucius. He is often credited with compiling the list of the Twenty-Four Paragons of Filial Piety, on which he included himself. One day, when he was gathering firewood in the hills, he felt a strange urge to return home at once. When he arrived, he found that his old mother required his presence and had bitten her finger in frustration at not being able to call him. Telepathically, her need had been communicated to her dutiful son. Yoshitoshi depicts the loyal son gathering wood, head lifted from his task as he feels his mothers call. In the distance, his home is nestled into the landscape. 

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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