Yoshitoshi 芳年: Chikubushima Moon--Tsunemasa 竹生島月 経正 (Sold)

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Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) 芳年
Title: Chikubushima Moon--Tsunemasa 竹生島月 経正
Series: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon 月百姿
Date: 1886

Taira no Tsunemasa was a Taira leader in the 12th century wars against the Minamoto clan. He was also an exceptional musician who was renowned for his lute (biwa) playing. Here he is shown in a famous visit to the Chikubushima shrine on Chikubu Island, where he and his generals have stopped to pray for victory in battle. The shrine priest has brought him a biwa to play as the moon rises above the scene, and here he is shown fully focused on his playing. It was at this point in the story the goddess Benten appeared in the form of a white dragon that became visible over his shoulder--it would seem that Yoshitoshi has visually indicated this association by placing the white/purple cloth wrapping of the biwa in a way that the cloth that seems to rise over the warrior’s shoulder, although it is actually hanging from the pine branch. Tsunemasa has removed his right gauntlet and sits atop a bearskin rug, and his sword scabbard has tigerskin trimming. The story comes from “Tales of the Heike”. Beautifully printed, with all of the black elements on the print with a subtle sheen from the lacquer-imitated printing effect.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition.
Dimensions: ôban 35.6 x 24 cm
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
Literature: John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi’s One Hundred Aspects of the Moon (San Francisco: San Francisco Graphic Society, 1992), number 28. See British Museum, Portland Art Museum.
Seal: Taiso
Signature: Yoshitoshi