Pleasure is this/ to lie cool under the moonflower bower/ the man in his undershirt, the woman in her slip, from the series One hundred aspects of the moon
1839 - 1892
This is an informal setting of a peasant couple relaxing at the end of a hard day, viewing the moon. Their infant son is being suckled in its mother’s arms, while the man is leaning back and singing with a cup and kettle of sake beside him, his garment lightly falling off his shoulder. A beautiful, robustly growing gourd vine called 'yūgao' or ‘moonflower’ frames the scene. A friend of Yoshitoshi, Keika, composed the poem in upper right cartouche which is reflected in the title of this work.
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.
tanoshimi wa/ yūgaodana no/ yūsuzumi/ otoko wa tetera/ me wa futa no shie
Place where the work was made
Meiji period 1868 - 1912 → Japan
colour woodblock; ôban
39.0 x 26.0 cm
Signature & date
Signed and dated.
Yasuko Myer Bequest Fund 2012
Not on display
Where the work was made
Referenced in 3 publications
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.88; Another edition was reproduced
Chris UHLENBECK, Yoshitoshi: masterpieces from the Ed Freis collection, Leiden, 2011, 135-136. General reference; Another edition was reproduced