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Tsukioka Yoshitoshi
(Japanese, 1839-1892)
Scouting Patrol with Saito Toshimitau

From 100 Views of the Moon, December 1885
Color woodblock print on paper
Signed lower left border, lower right and upper right

14 x 9 1/2 inches

Framed and matted under glass

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi was a pupil f Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Often characterized as the last great master of the ukiyo-e print (prints of warriors), Yoshitoshi's printed images ranged from the agitated and violent to the silent and tranquil. Among his special skills was the ability to revitalize the legends, histories, traditions and customs of Japan's recent and distant past.

Yoshitoshi's final series of prints was his Shinkei sanjurokkaisen ( New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts ) first published by Sasaki Toyokichi between April 1889 and July 1892 (the year the artist died). As Yoshitoshi became ill and would die before the last three designs of the set were published, he might have been assisted near the end of his life by his students Toshikata (1866-1908) and Toshihide (1863-1925), but the extent of their involvement is unknown. His ghost series was eerily saying to the artist that his own death was near and perhaps that is why he started the ghost series. No one knows for certain what motivated him to do the series.

Yoshitoshi is famous for being an excellent draftsman who used subtle graduations and shadings to depict translucent forms or distances. He was able at achieving an ethereal effect or a timeless quality. His series 100 Views of the Moon were very popular throughout Japan during his lifetime because they depicted great warriors and heroes guarding and defending the empire.

References: Ing. Eric van den and Rober Schaap, Beauty and Violence: Japanese Prints by Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892 ; Eindhoven and Bergeyk: Haviland Press & the Society for Japanese Arts, 1972, pp. 88-89, 141-143; Keyes, Robert and Kuwatama, George, The Bizarre Imagery of Yoshitoshi (Los Angeles: Los Angles County Museum of Art, 1980);

Keyes, Robert, Courage and Silence: A Study of the Life and Color Woodblock Prints of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (Vols. 1-2), 1983; Stevenson, John, Yoshitoshi's One Hundred Aspects of the Moon (Redmond, WA: San Fran. Graphic Society, 1992).