Yoshitoshi woodblock print

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, (1839-1892)

One Hundred Aspects of the Moon: The Moon of the Moor - Yasumasa
(Tsuki hyakushi: harano no tsuki - Yasumasa)

signed Yoshitoshi with artist's seal Taiso, engraver's mark Enkatsu, and published by Akiyama Buemon, 1888

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

This print illustrates a story described in the 13th century compilation, Uji shui monogatari ('Tales Gleaned from Uji'), regarding Fujiwara no Yasumasa (958-1036) a musician at the Heian court, and his brother, Kidomaru (Hakamadare Yasusake), who had become an outlaw rather than serve under the powerful warrior Raiko. In this episode, Yasumasa plays his flute while traveling home at night while his brother prepares to ambush Yasumasa and rob him of his fine robes. When Kidomaru approaches to attack, he is stopped, entranced by Yasumasa's flute-playing. When Yasumasa reaches his home and discovers his brother following him, he generously gives Kidomaru his robes and tells him he only had to ask.

The scene appeared as a dance in a kabuki play staged in 1822, which was revived some forty years later. But it is Yoshitoshi who made the subject famous, first with a triptych in 1868, followed by an exhibition painting in 1882, and finally with his masterpiece, the 1883 triptych based on the painting which was published by Akiyama Buemon, known simply as 'The Flute Player triptych.'

Reference:
John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's

One Hundred Aspects of the Moon, 2001, cat. no. 63

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