Yoshitoshi 芳年: Moon and Smoke 煙中月 (Enchu no tsuki) (Sold)

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

The fire was 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. The colors of the flames are also unique in every impression, as the pigments oxidized in their own way for each print.

Condition: Very good impression, color and condition.  Several pinholes in right margin and hinging remnants, verso.
Dimensions: ôban  35.8 x 24 cm
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
Literature: Stevens, John: “Yoshitoshi’s One Hundred Aspects of The Moon”, Hong Kong, 1988. #22; Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence, 1983, p. 461, no. 478.21; Shinichi Segi, Yoshitoshi the Splendid Decadent, 1985, p. 58, no. 72.3; Eric van den Ing & Robert Schaap, Beauty and Violence, 1992, p. 133, no. 54.21 (illus.)
John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's 100 Aspects of the Moon, 2001, no. 22; Ota Memorial Museum of Art, Yoshitoshi: 32 Aspects of Women and 100 Aspects of the Moon, 2009, p. 24, no. 2.22; Ota Memorial Museum of Art, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi: 120th Memorial Retrospective, 2012, p. 154, no. 229See Yale, MFAH, Philiadelphia Museum, MET, Harvard museums online.
Seal: Taiso; Engraver:Yamamoto
Signature: Yoshitoshi