Yoshitoshi: Moon and Smoke (Enchû no tsuki) (Sold)

  • Sold.

Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
Title: Moon and Smoke (enchû no tsuki)
Series: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon 月百姿 (Tsuki hyaku sugata)
Date: 2/1886 (Meiji 19)

Fires were a common occurrence in the crowded city of Edo, and the flames were known as Edo no hana, “Flowers of Edo.” Troops of firemen were organized to fight the conflagrations and considered as heroes within their own localities. They were notorious for boisterous and daredevil behavior. Unlike other fire prints, the firemen in this print are motionless. In contrast the smoke and flames are roaring and covering the sight of the moon. The static fireman and his colleague next to him in the foreground grasp their standard, a matoi, which made of paper, leather and wood. The fireman opposite in silhouette has a different standard, belonging to other group. The fireman wears a heavy quilted jacket, which is soaked with water before he approached the flames. As seen on his right hand the hands are covered by the long sleeves for protection. On his head cover the name of group, kumi, is mentioned: the circular stands for “i” for ichi, namely the first or one. He belongs to “Group Number One.” His jacket has a character matoi, indicating that he is the troop’s standard-bearer. The smoke and flames have been given texture by splattering lime onto the paper. This lime, gofun, was made from powdered chalk or sea shells, mixed with glue. The splattering effect is different in every impression.

Dimensions: ôban (35.6 x 24 cm)
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
Literature: Stevens, John: Yoshitoshi’s One Hundred Aspects of The Moon, Hong Kong, 1944. #22
Signature: Yoshitoshi