Yoshitoshi 芳年: The Cry of the Fox 吼噦 (SOLD)

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Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi 芳年 (1839-1892)
Title: The Cry of the Fox (Konkai) 吼噦
Series: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon: Tsuki hyakushi 月百姿
Date: 1886

From the popular kyogen drama “The Cry of the Fox”, Yoshitoshi has captured the moment when the old priest Hakuzosu turns back into his real identity, that of a fox. The fox had visited the main character, a hunter, to try to convince him how wrong and evil it is to hunt foxes, animals of great virtue. Here the fox looks backwards as he heads into the wilds, perhaps to check for watchers, as he reverts to his true form. He still wears the priest’s garments, and his hands and feet are still human, and he still clasps a rosary and a walking stick. The wild susuki grasses are the only setting, and Yoshitoshi has drawn them with such care that they create all the atmosphere that is needed, other than the yellow crescent moon. The grasses have blindprinting on their tasseled seed-heads, and the withered stalks create a perfect air of mystery and desolation. There is also blindprinting on the white of the cartouche and the background bokashi has been done with great care. In the story, the fox is caught in a trap on the way home, as he has lost the power of human analysis and takes the bait out of instinct. This is an unusually early impression of this compelling design.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Unbacked.
Dimensions: ôban (36.2 x 24.4 cm)

Literature: Stevenson #13. 
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
Seal: Yoshitoshi
Signature: Yoshitoshi