Yoshitoshi 芳年: The Shining Princess Returns to the Moon; Bamboo Cutter つきの百姿 月宮迎

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Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) 芳年
Title: Received Back into Moon Palace: Bamboo Cutter つきの百姿 月宮迎
Series: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon 月百姿
Date: 1888

The Bamboo Cutter falls to his knees as he bids a heartbreaking farewell to his adoptive daughter, who is actually the daughter of Joga, the Queen of the Moon. The Bamboo Cutter and his wife had raised the girl as their own ever since he found her as a baby hidden inside a large bamboo stem, shining from within with an otherworldly radiance. The couple named her “Kaguyahime”, Shining Princess, and she grew up to be extraordinarily beautiful. The emperor himself tried to woo her, but she explained that she was the daughter of the Queen of the Moon and that she had been sent down to earth for 20 years as a punishment for disobeying her mother, and it that it would soon be time for her to return to her heavenly realm. Here we see the moment where she must say good bye to her earthly father, and he falls to his knees in despair. The princess looks down in farewell at the bamboo cutter as she rises in a celestial puff of clouds, flanked by two attendants bearing ceremonial fans that extend above her head and beyond the upper border, enhancing the feeling of lift. Stevenson notes that it is only early impressions that have the soft purple clouds, as here. This story is taken from a late Heian work called Taketori monogatari, “Tale of the Bamboo Cutter”. 

Condition: Very good impression; excellent 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 600. See British Museum, Portland Art Museum, Art Institute of Chicago.
Seal: Yoshitoshi
Signature: Yoshitoshi