Yoshitoshi 芳年: Mount Miyaji Moon –Moronaga

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Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
Title: The Moon of Ogurusu in Yamashiro
Series: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon月百姿 (Tsuki hyaku sugata)
Date: 1889

Fujiwara no Moronaga plays his biwa lute in autumn, seemingly lost in internal musings and deeply focused on his music. He was twice exiled by Taira no Kiyomori, once to the island of Shikoku and the second time to Owari.  In this scene he has come upon the beautiful scene of maple trees on Mount Miyaji, with a nearby waterfall and singing birds all around. He is moved to play his lute, his hair long due to his years in exile. We see a rather mysterious woman walking into view at right, her voluminous robes flowing in the breeze as she seems drawn to the playing of this courier as he sits with an audience of none. Yoshitoshi himself was apparently very interested in music, which we can see in the dozen designs that feature musical instruments being played in this series.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Unbacked.
Dimensions: ôban vertical (35.5 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 72. See British Museum, Portland Art Museum.
Seal: Taiso
Signature: Yoshitoshi