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Collection

An image of Moon of the Southern Sea by Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI

Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI

(Japan 1839 – 1892)

Title
Moon of the Southern Sea, from the series One hundred aspects of the moon
Alternative title:
Nankai no tsuki
Place of origin
Japan
Year
1885-1892
Media category
Print
Materials used
colour woodblock; ôban
Dimensions

39.0 x 26.0 cm

Signature & date
Signed and dated.
Credit
Yasuko Myer Bequest Fund 2012
Accession number
258.2012.68
Location
Lower Asian gallery
Further information

Bodhisattva is the goddess of mercy and compassion known in Japan as Kannon (‘one who hears the sound of the world’) and in China as Guanyin. Depicted here is the origin of Kannon in India as Avalokitesvara. Kannon is sitting on a rocky island in the Southern Sea off the coast of India called Potalaka, a place she lived on earth. She is sitting under the moon on this rocky outpost, and behind her is a vase with healing water and a willow branch, which she would usually sprinkle over people in need. This Kannon is particualrly worshiped by fishermen and sailors.

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.). cat.no.68; Another edition was reproduced

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