Yoshitoshi 芳年: Soga Brothers: Mountain Moon After Rain--Tokimune (Sold)

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Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi 月岡芳年 (1839-1892)
Title: Mountain Moon After Rain-- [Goro] Tokimune

Series: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon 月百姿
Date: 1885

The calm before the storm: we see the young Soga brother Goro Tokimune about to tie back his sleeve before he attacks the camp of Suketsune in an act of revenge. Suketsune was responsible for the death of the father of Goro and his brother Juro in the 12th century. This story was the inspiration for at least twenty-three plays and was a staple of Japanese literature and would have been known to pretty much all of Yoshitoshi’s buying public. Yoshitoshi has chosen an unusual angle to depict the young Goro’s face: he looks up as a cuckoo flies across the crescent moon, capturing briefly his attention before focusing on the grim task at hand. The call of the cuckoo (hototogisu) is a symbol of the transience of life, and here would seem to be an omen of a young life about to be cut short.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition.
Dimensions: ôban (35.5 x 23.8 cm)
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
Literature: Stevens, John: “Yoshitoshi’s One Hundred Aspects of The Moon” #9. See British Museum, Rijksmuseum, Library of Congress.
Seal: Yoshitoshi no in
Signature: Yoshitoshi