Yoshitoshi woodblock print

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, (1839-1892)

One Hundred Aspects of the Moon: The Yugao Chapter from The Tale of Genji
(Tsuki hyakushi: Genji yugao no maki)

signed Yoshitoshi with artist's seal Taiso, engraver's mark Yamamoto, and published by Akiyama Buemon, 1885

oban tate-e 13 7/8 by 9 1/2 in., 35.2 by 24.1 cm

Genji Monogatari ('The Tale of Genji'), the classic Heian Period epic novel following the complicated life and romances of the 'Shining Prince' Genji, inspired endless variations and interpretations in art and literature through the centuries. The title of chapter 4, Yugao ('Evening Faces' also known as the 'moonflower'), is so well-known that only an image of the flower, perhaps resting on a folding fan, becomes a direct reference to this sad chapter in the story. Of all of Genji's many lovers, the most tragic is the reclusive beauty residing in a neglected mansion covered by vines with flowering yugao blossoms. She refuses to tell Genji anything about herself, including her name, so he calls her Yugao, after she has a female servant present Genji's servant with a blossom on a scented folding fan inscribed with a poem written in beautiful calligraphy. Fascinated, Genji invites the mysterious lady to a remote villa where they consummate their passions. But only hours later, one of Genji's former lovers, the jealous Lady Rokujo, haunts poor Yugao and quickly takes her life.

Reference:
John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's

One Hundred Aspects of the Moon, 2001, cat. no. 29

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