New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts: no. 31, The ever-reflecting water is frozen and covered with ice, it does not mirror the evening moon in the sky -Sogi
(Shingata sanjurokkaisen: Yadorubeki mizu no kori ni tojirarete koyoi no tsuki wa sora ni koso)
signed Yoshitoshi, artist's seal Yoshitoshi, published by Sasaki Toyokichi, ca. 1892
oban tate-e 14 1/2 by 9 7/8 in., 36.7 by 25.1 cm
Sogi, writer of the poem in the title cartouche, was a 17th century priest and poet. He was a frequent traveler, and would pay for his stay through literate conversation. He is depicted in this composition in a cold, abandoned house, observing two ghosts discuss how to conclude a poem. A gregarious and intelligent figure, Sogi interrupts them and finishes the poem on their behalf. Angered by his intrusion in their conversation, the ghosts vanish and leave him alone in the frightening setting.
The house is in an advanced state of decay, with vine leaves growing from the window and crosshatched support beams visible through cracking plaster. The exposed moon in the window and the composition's generally ethereal quality is reminiscent of some prints from Yoshitoshi's One Hundred Aspects of the Moon series, particularly the depiction of blind musician Semimaru in no. 98.
John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's Strange Tales, 2005. p. 144 no. 31
John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's Thiry-Six Ghosts, 1983. cat. no. 31
price: $ 950
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays, 11am - 5pm, by appointment.
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit.
site last updated
June 21, 2019
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
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