Yoshitoshi 芳年: Shinobugaoka Moon--Gyokuensai 忍岡月 玉淵斎 (SOLD)

  • Sold.

Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi 芳年 (1839-1892)
Title: Shinobugaoka Moon--Gyokuensai 忍岡月 玉淵斎
Series: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon 月百姿
Date: 1889

The young samurai Gyokuensai seems to almost recoil from a shower of cherry blossoms that have been dislodged by the wind. Perhaps he is thinking of the association of falling blossoms and impermanence, and has glimpsed a future that fills him with trepidation. Next to him is a woman’s kimono, elaborately decorated with flying plovers and waves. It has been hung between trees as a makeshift shelter for a picnic to view the cherry blossoms in the moonlight. We see a glimpse of a fancy picnic box behind the robe at lower left. A large traveling hat is also shown behind him. This area is now part of Ueno Park in Tokyo, and it is still famous for its cherry blossoms. As Stevenson notes, there is an element of mystery to this design, as the posture of the young man seems incongruous to the scene, so we are left to ponder its meaning. Beautifully printed, there is an extra pattern in the black of the young man’s robe, and there is blindprinting in the white title cartouche and woodgrain evident in the sky.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Unbacked.
Dimensions: ôban 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 76. See British Museum, Portland Art Museum.
Seal: Taiso
Signature: Yoshitoshi