Yoshitoshi 芳年: Dawn Moon of the Shinto Rites 神事残月

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Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) 芳年
Title: Dawn Moon of the Shinto Rites–Festival on a Hill 神事残月
Series: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon 月百姿
Date: 1886

We are at crowd level, looking up at a festival float for the Sanno Festival, celebrated during the second week of the sixth lunar month during the full moon. The figure on the float is dressed in opulent robes and wears a flowing red wig and holds aloft a gohei, a wand with Shinto paper symbols. Although Stevenson thinks that this figure is probably a person, to this observer the hand looks doll-like and seems to belong to one of the festival’s famous automatons, a life-sized mechanical figure that would have been created just for the parade. The platform is covered with a brocaded scene of a ceremonial horse-race or polo game. It would seem also that this brocade draping would be a good place to obscure the lower workings of the automaton figure. To the right is the figure of the drum-bird (Kankodori), a symbol of good governance, and beyond that we see just the lower slope to Edo Castle, which the procession shall soon pass. 

Condition: Excellent impression and color. 
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 33. See British Museum, Rijkmuseum, Library of Congress.
Seal: Yoshitoshi
Signature: Yoshitoshi