Yoshitoshi 芳年: The Moon at High Tide (Takasago) (Sold)

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Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) 芳年
Title: The Moon at High Tide いでしほの月
Series: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon 月百姿
Date: Dated both 1886 and 1892, as all examples of this design are

A peaceful image that symbolizes the fulfilling connection between long-married couples. Yoshitoshi has chosen to illustrate a scene from the 14th century Noh play called Takasago, considered a masterpiece of Noh theater that evokes blessings and celebration-- famous chants from this play are heard at wedding receptions in Japan even today. The old man is Jô and the woman is Uba, and they are the spirits of two ancient pine trees that are rooted far apart, yet have unwavering loyalty to each other. In the play they appear to a Shinto priest who is travelling through Takasago and comes across them on a moonlit night as they sweep the pine needles of an ancient pine tree on the shore. Both figures wear Noh costumes, and the man’s hakama trousers are beautifully embossed. They seem to have paused to admire the full moon that has bathed the scene in moonlight. This design is so subtle that it is important to have a very early edition, as here, with careful printing.

Condition: Excellent impression, 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 17. See Portland Art Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library of Congress, British Museum collections.
Seal: Yoshitoshi
Signature: Yoshitoshi