Yoshitoshi 芳年: Moon of the Pleasure Quarters 廓の月 (Sold)

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Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) 芳年
Title: Moon of the Pleasure Quarters 廓の月
Series: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon 月百姿
Date: 1886

We see a courtesan walking beneath a full moon in the pleasure quarters; her faced is turned towards the moon, whose face perhaps as proxy beams down upon the viewer from behind a tree branch. The little girl, her kamuro (assistant), seems to be watching the petals fall, or perhaps she is politely turning to wait. The courtesan herself seems rather remote in her towering geta–the sight of falling cherry petals was shorthand for the transience of life, and in the case of a courtesan, in the transience of the power of her beauty. This seems to be a stroll of contemplation rather than any one of the formal processions that the courtesans performed.  This is a very early impression, and there is blindprinting in the square cartouche and the lacquer-imitating effect on her black geta.

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 24. See British Museum, Portland Art Museum, MFA Boston museum collections.
Seal: Yoshitoshi
Signature: Yoshitoshi