Yoshitoshi 芳年: Mount Yoshino Midnight-Moon 吉野山 夜半 月伊賀局 (SOLD)
Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) 芳年
Title: Mount Yoshino Midnight-Moon 吉野山 夜半 月伊賀局
Series: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon 月百姿
The court lady Iga no Tsubone fearlessly confronts the ghost of Kiyotaka. Her hair flows in a cascading length of elegance down her back as maple leaves float down beneath a full moon. Her trailing robes have been printed with an oxidizing lead pigment, which adds depth and a unique cast to the orange garment. The ghost is clutching at the title cartouche with his eerie fingers, which is a modern touch that seems to break the fourth wall. Kiyotaka’s ghost appears without feet as an apparition in shades of grey. He glares at her with yellow eyes, hovering on wings, which are a very unusual aspect of a Japanese ghost. (In first editions such as this example, the yellow in the eyes has had an extra layer of pigment applied, to give it an extra intensity.) She remains completely calm, which is apparently the best way to disarm a ghost; in fact, she successfully convinces the ghost to stop haunting the exiled court at Nara. The white of her robes and the white of the cartouche have been blindprinted to mimic fabric. The full moon is mostly obscured by shadowy clouds, and both figures appear to float against a background that provides no support beyond the moon. This design was chosen for the cover image for the important 1992 catalog on Yoshitoshi: “Beauty & Violence”.
Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Unbacked and untrimmed.
Dimensions: ôban (35.8 x 24 cm)
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
Literature: Stevenson #15. See Philadelphia Museum, MIA, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, MFA Boston, British Museum collections.
Seal: Yoshitoshi no in