Mattia Jona, Master Drawings and Prints, Japanese Prints - Piazzetta Guastalla 5, 20122 Milan, Italy, tel (+39) 02 8053315


Yoshitoshi, raising moon over Mt. Nanping

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TSUKIOKA YOSHITOSHI (1839 - 1892) RAISING MOON OVER MT. NANPING (the Chinese war-lord Cao Cao standing on a boat at the eve of the battle of the red cliffs)
Colour woodblock print, 1885, from the series 'One Hundred Aspects of Moon'. Signed 'Yoshitoshi' and sealed 'Taiso'. Very good impression with embossing and very good colour; sheet partly backed, margins a little bit trimmed and other minimal flaws, otherwise in very good condition. 'Oban', 362 x 235 mm.

Yoshitoshi was one of the last great masters, and one of the great innovative and creative geniuses, of the Japanese woodblock print. At the age of eleven, he was enrolled as a student of the school of Kuniyoshi. His early work is full of extremely graphic violence and death, perhaps mirroring the lawlessness and violence of the Japan around him, which was simultaneously going through the breakdown of the feudal system imposed by the Tokugawa shoguns, as well as the impact of the West. By 1871, Yoshitoshi became severely depressed. Unable to work, he hardly produced any prints for two years. In 1873 he recovered from his depressions and changed his name to Taiso, which means 'great resurrection'. In 1882 he was employed by a newspaper. This gave him a steady income and marked the end of years of poverty. His last years were among his most productive, not only in terms of quantity, but also in terms of artistic quality. In 1885 the first designs of 'One Hundred Aspects of the Moon' were published. This series was extremely popular. In 1888 the series '32 Aspects of Customs and Manners was published', a series of women prints. In 1889 a new series with ghost subjects came on the market: 'New Form of 36 Ghosts'. The symptoms of mental illness became more and more frequent. Nevertheless Yoshitoshi Tsukioka continued to work. He died in 1892 from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 53.

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