Minamoto no Tsunemoto was a high-ranking courtier of the tenth century, a poet famous for his tanka, and a general noted for his skill at archery. He founded the Seiwa-Genji line of the Minamoto family, from whom three shogun families, Minamoto, Ashikaga, and Tokugawa, each claimed descent.
The Jōganden of the title was a wing of the imperial palace complex in Kyoto. One moonlit evening in the autumn of 932, the Emperor Shujaku was strolling in the gardens of the palace when a demon in the form of a huge stag, with red eyes and dagger-like teeth, appeared on the roof of the Jōganden. Stamping and snorting, it was about to leap onto the emperor when Tsunemoto dispatched it with a single kaburaya, “turnip-headed arrow”, between the eyes.
Published in December 1888, this is number 67 of the series.
You can view the complete series of 100 Aspects of the Moon by Yoshitoshi here.
The Woodblock Print
This aiban-sized woodblock is in very fine condition. Beautiful color and a clean verso, but with some very light soiling and wrinkling. Full and intact margins.
About the Artist
The son of a Tokyo physician, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839 – 1892) is considered one of the last great masters of ukiyo-e. As a young boy he showed remarkable talent and began to study under the renowned Kuniyoshi at the age of 12. He also studied under Yosai and was adopted by the Tsukioka family.
As modernization pushed ahead following the opening of Japan to the West, Yoshitoshi suffered a nervous breakdown in 1872, living in poverty and ceasing all artistic production. He soon resumed working, adopting the artist name Taiso. In 1885, he began one of his most acclaimed series, “100 Views of the Moon”. In the spring of 1892, he suffered his final mental breakdown and was committed to the Sugamo Asylum; he died shortly of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 53.
Yoshitoshi’s prints are known for their eerie and imaginative nature. From ghost stories to folktales, graphic violence to the gentle glow of the moon, Yoshitoshi not only offers compositional and technical brilliance, but also unfettered passion.