Yoshitoshi 芳年: Reading by Moonlight-- Zi Luo 子路

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Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) 芳年
Title: Reading by the Light of the Moon-- Zi Luo 子路
Series: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon 月百姿
Date: 1888

Zi Luo trudges through the mists of time, the subtle coloring of the print giving us a window to the far past and to this influential figure. Zi Luo was a pupil of Confucius about 2500 years ago who eventually became one of China’s Twenty-four Paragons of Filial Piety. He was born into a poor family and would take every opportunity to educate himself; we see him here in rags reading beneath the light of the full moon. He is too poor even for shoes, but his large bag of rice is intended as a gift for his parents; it would have been a luxury food item at the time. His tattered clothes also indicate his own frugality and lack of concern for his own needs. The landscape behind him is done in the style of Chinese literati paintings, and the extremely subtle printing and soft palette are only effective when the print is a very early, unfaded example, as here.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Unbacked. An exceptionally early impression, exquisitely printed.
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 57. See British Museum, Portland Art Museum.
Seal: Taiso
Signature: Yoshitoshi