Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, (1839-1892)
One Hundred Aspects of the Moon: Musashi Plain Moon
(Tsuki hyakushi: Musashino no tsuki)
signed Yoshitoshi with artist's seal Yoshitoshi, engraver's mark Yamamoto, and published by Akiyama Buemon, 1892
oban tate-e 13 7/8 by 9 1/2 in., 35.2 by 24.1 cm
The Musashi plain near Edo was thought to be inhabited by magical foxes, creatures who were thought of as tricksters in Japanese folklore- most often attributed with the ability to take human form. In addition to the story of the fox taking the form of the priest Hakuzosu from the kyogen drama Konkai ('The Cry of the Fox'), there were numerous stories of foxes taking the form of a beautiful woman. This print depicts an elegant vixen at a water's edge among tall grasses. The combination of autumnal grasses and flowers and a full moon are a traditional poetic motif associated with the Musashi plain.
Often when a creature or spirit takes human form in Japanese mythology their true nature is visible in the reflection of moonlit water; in a playful turn on convention, the reflection of the animal in the surface of the water is just as it appears to be a fox.
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