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An image of The moon through a crumbling window by Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI


(Japan 1839 – 1892)

The moon through a crumbling window, from the series One hundred aspects of the moon
Alternative title:
hasō no tsuki
Place of origin
Meiji period 1868 - 1912 → Japan
Media category
Materials used
colour woodblock; ôban

39.0 x 26.0 cm

Signature & date
Signed and dated.
Yasuko Myer Bequest Fund 2012
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism, was an Indian Prince who in the sixth century travelled from India to China after studying Buddhism to seek enlightenment. Called Daruma in Japanese, he was said to have gone to Luoyang in northern China where he sat facing a wall for nine years, and meditated for so long the wall started to disintergate. Here Daruma is sitting in meditation under the the moonlight, but not serenely, as he is struggling with his thoughts and appears fierce rather than calm. He is portrayed with curly beard and hair and is surrounded by crumbling walls and vines.

Yoshitoshi’s career straddled two eras – the last years of the Edo period and the first few decades of modern Japan following the Meiji Restoration in 1867. Initially enthusiastic and opened to Western influxes, he became increasingly sceptical about the loss of numerous aspects of traditional Japanese art and culture due to rapid industrialisation and Westernisation. In a time when modern reproductive technologies such as photography and lithography were introduced to Japan and enjoyed high popularity, Yoshitoshi concentrated his efforts in introducing new themes and techniques to the stagnant art of ukiyo-e colour woodblock prints, taking it thus to a new height, before it definitely declined after his death. His highly imaginative, often flamboyant and even disturbing depictions of historical events, warriors, beautiful women and the supernatural has led him to be recognised as the last great master of traditional Japanese woodblock print.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, August 2012.

Bibliography (3)

Yuriko Iwakiri, Yoshitoshi Tsuki hyakushi (Yoshitoshi’s One hundred aspects of the moon), Tokyo, 2010. General reference; Another edition was reproduced

John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's One hundred aspects of the moon, Seattle, 1992, (colour illus.).; Another edition was reproduced

Chris UHLENBECK, Yoshitoshi: masterpieces from the Ed Freis collection, Leiden, 2011, 135-136. General reference; Another edition was reproduced