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Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)

Moon of Enlightenment

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Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
Moon of Enlightenment
One Hundred Views of the Moon
Woodblock Print
14.5" x 9.75"
Yoshitoshi sha
Very good color, impression and state, embellished with embossing, faint stain near bottom edge.


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Questions about this piece? 212.688.0188


Akiyama Buemon

About the art

Hotei is the god of good fortune and happiness and the most popular of the Seven Gods of Luck. He is often depicted as a jolly fat man in untidy clothing carrying a huge bag of treasures. Hotei is identified with the 10th century Chinese priest Chixi, who wandered about the country carrying his belongings in a linen bag. Many people believed that this carefree, wandering priest was in fact an incarnation of Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future. Yoshitoshi has titled the work “Moon of Enlightenment,” referring to the wonder felt by Hotei at the sight of the full moon.

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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