Yoshitoshi: Kitayama Moon: Toyohara Sumiaki (Muneaki) and Wolves 北山月 豊原統秋 (reserved)
Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
Title: Kitayama Moon: Toyohara Sumiaki (Muneaki) 北山月 豊原統秋
Series: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon月百姿
The 16th century court musician Toyohara Sumiaki raises his hand in fear as he encounters a number of wolves while wandering the moors of Kitayama with his flute on a moonlit night. We feel the wind blowing his brocade robe; the wind could almost be emanating from the jaws of the wolves in the dynamic sophistication of the design details. The moon feels squeezed by enfolding darkness within a red patch of sky; it was perfectly described by Stevenson as “baleful” and “not friendly”. Yoshitoshi has captured a moment of dramatic tension, but thankfully this scene has a happy ending. Sumiaki decides to play his favorite tune on his flute for the last time--this has the effect of pacifying the wolves, who lie down to listen and then return to the woods. The Japanese wolf as a subspecies is now extinct, its extermination sadly complete by the early 20th century.
Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition.
Dimensions: ôban (35.6 x 24 cm)
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
Signature: Yoshitoshi with his seal
Literature: John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi’s One Hundred Aspects of the Moon (San Francisco: San Francisco Graphic Society, 1992), no. 32. See British Museum, Portland Art Museum, Edo Tokyo Museum collections.