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Maker(s):Tsukioka Yoshitoshi; Akiyama Buemon (publisher)
Culture:Japanese (1839-1892)
Title:Harano no tsuki: Yasumasa [The Moon Over the Moor: Yasumasa], from the series Tsuki hyakushi [One hundred aspects of the moon]
Date Made:1888 May 20
Materials:Woodblock print (woodcut); nishiki-e, ink and colors on paper
Place Made:Asia; Japan
Measurements:Mount: 17 15/16 in x 12 7/16 in; 45.6 cm x 31.6 cm; Sheet: 14 11/16 in x 9 15/16 in; 37.3 cm x 25.2 cm; Image: 13 1/16 in x 8 7/8 in; 33.2 cm x 22.5 cm
Narrative Inscription:  TITLE: recto, upp. r. (black ink in pink cartouche): [Japanese character, Tsuki hyakushi]; TITLE: recto, upp. r. (black ink in square cartouche): [Japanese character, Harano no tsuki: Yasumasa]; SIGNATURE: recto, lwr. l. (black ink, within image): [Japanese character, Yoshitoshi]; SEAL: recto, lwr. l. (red ink, within image): [Japanese character, Taiso]; DATE: recto, lwr. l. (brown ink): [Japanese character, Meiji Nijuichi nen gogatsu tsuka insatsu / [ill.] nen getsu ni shuppan]; SEAL: recto, lwr. r. (black ink, within image): [Japanese character, Choko (or horiko) Enkatsu]; INSCRIPTION: recto, lwr. l. (brown ink): [Japanese character, Nihonbashi-ku Muromachi san-chome ku-banchi / insatsu [ill.] hakko-sha Akiyama Buemon]; SEAL: recto, lwr. l. (stamp with brown ink): [Japanese character, Kumi do]; SEAL: recto, lwr. l. (stamp with brown ink): [Japanese character, [ill.]]; SEAL: recto, lwr. l. (brown ink): [Japanese character, [ill.] do].
Accession Number:  MH 1949.64.Q.RII
Credit Line:Purchase with the Nancy Everett Dwight Fund
Museum Collection:  Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

No. 63 from the series. A vertical print showing the back of two men, both bearing a sword, among the susuki grass. One in orange robe (Fujiwara Yasumasa, 958-1036) is playing flute, followed by another in green and blue robe (Hakadamare Yasusake) with his sword pulled. Embossed pattern in the square cartouche area and silver paints applied to the inner robe, the blue belt, and the sword of the left figure.

Label Text:
The “One Hundred Aspects of the Moon” is one of the most famed series created by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, the last master of Japanese ukiyo-e art. In this series Tsukioka illustrates important historical events, using the moon as a repeating motif in each. This print displays Tsukioka’s mastery in capturing and rendering human psychology and emotion.

This print shows the backs of two men standing in a moonlit moor: the celebrated poet and flute player Fujiwara Yasumasa (958-1036) and the bandit Yasusake (or Kidomaru). According to legend, Yasusake intended to kill the courtier for his fine robes and crept up behind Fujiwara with his sword ready. However, he was immediately enchanted and mesmerized by the beautiful flute music played by Yasumasa and could no longer carry out his attack.

Notice how the floating black clouds of fog conceal part of the moon. This effect was produced using a special technique called “borderless printing,” which creates a quiet ambiguity in the image, contrasting with the sharp lines of the susuki grass. The image captures a tense moment—the crouching bandit may jump up and kill the courtier as soon as the flute music stops.

-Yingxi Gong, Art Museum Advisory Board Fellow, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (Jan. 2015)

Ukiyo-e; men; legends; moons; night; music; flutes

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