One Hundred Aspects of the Moon: no. 84, Cloth-Beating Moon, Yugiri
(Tsuki hyakushi: kinuta no tsuki, Yugiri)
signed Yoshitoshi with artist's seal Yoshitoshi, engraver's mark Enkatsu, and published by Akiyama Buemon, ca. 1890
oban tate-e 13 7/8 by 9 1/2 in., 35.2 by 24.1 cm
This composition depicts the subject of the Noh play Kinuta (Cloth Beating). In the play, a man held in Kyoto by a lawsuit sends Yugiri, a maidservant, to his home in Kyushu to tell his wife that he will return before the end of the year. The wife, distraught at knowing that her husband is not yet returning, is comforted by the sound of clothing being beaten by village women. She decides to pound clothes herself, and sends Yugiri to get her a mortar. After the moment depicted in this print and upon hearing that her husband will no longer be returning by the end of the year, the wife succumbs to madness and passes away.
Yoshitoshi depicts the wife and Yugiri distanced from one another. Neither makes eye contact with the other as the wife mournfully raises the mallet above her head. Aside from the two figures, the mortar, and the opulent screen, the background is a grey wash, establishing the wife's feelings of isolation and ensuing madness.
John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's One Hundred Aspects of the Moon, 2001, cat. no. 84
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