Yoshitoshi: The Penance of the Priest Mongaku in Waterfall (Sold)

  • Sold.

Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
Title: Picture of the Penance of the Priest Mongaku (Mongaku shônin aragyô no zu)
Date: 1885 

Kongara Doji emerges from a cloud holding a lotus bud and looks down with compassion on the priest Mongaku, who has spent years doing penance under a freezing waterfall to atone for his misdeeds. She is one of Fudo Myo-o’s attendants, who has come to rescue Mongaku after three years of penance for the murder of his lover. Yoshitoshi’s teacher Kuniyoshi designed a fantastic vertical triptych of this same subject. The Ichikawa clan were strongly linked to the devotional practices of Fudo Myo-o, and a play that included this scene must have been an inspiration for Yoshitoshi. Another one of the attendants of Fudo Myo-o-, probably Seitak Doji, is hauling Mongaku out by the scruff of his tattered robes, the monk still holding a penitent position. Waves of mist have been created with extensive and complex blindprinting in the white of the foam.  These vertical diptychs are some of Yoshitoshi’s strongest designs; a waterfall is very well suited to this format. This is a very early, fine impression, with no weak lines on any of the figures.

Condition: Excellent impression and color. Very good condition. Backed, and with some trimming.
Dimensions: kakemono-e (71.8 x 23 cm)
Publisher: Hasegawa Tsunejirô
Literature: Shown in color in  “Beauty & Violence”, figure 47, page 68. Keyes, Courage and Silence (1982), no. 469; Iwakiri, Yoshitoshi (2014), fig. 212, p. 291. See MIA.
Seal: Taiso
Signature: Ôju Yoshitoshi ga