Yoshitoshi: Cassia Tree Moon--Wu Gang
Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
Title: Cassia Tree Moon; Wu Gang
Series: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon
The Chinese Immortal Wu Gang (Gôbetsu) was punished by the gods for misusing the magical seeds from the giant cassia tree that grow on the moon. The cassia trees (katsura in Japanese) are ten thousand feet high and turn red during the time of the harvest moon. Wu Gang’s punishment was to chop off the branches of the cassia tree, which of course would grow back again immediately. Here Wu Gang is pointing at the moon, riding a cloud to his new job. His mouth may just be glimpsed as agape beneath his beard, perhaps in awe. As a reference to the menial labor, he wears the hat of a peasant. His ceremonial axe is resting in his left hand. The black on his robes features burnishing and the white on the cartouche and the cloud features blindprinting. As close to a perfect example of this design as one is likely to find these days. See Stevenson’s excellent description in his monograph on this series.
Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Unbacked; large margins
Dimensions: ôban 35.5 x 24 cm
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
Literature: Stevenson #26.