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Yoshitoshi
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892
One Hundred Aspects of the Moon: no. 62, Moon of Enlightenment
(Tsuki hyakushi: godo no tsuki)

signed Yoshitoshi with artist's seal Taiso, engraver's mark Enkatsu, and published by Akiyama Buemon, ca. 1888
oban tate-e 13 7/8 by 9 1/2 in., 35.2 by 24.1 cm
Yoshitoshi depicts Hotei, the god of happiness and good fortune, leaning against his linen bag, fabled to be full of treasures. The figure of Hotei pointing at the moon was a favorite subject for Zen painters, as it represents both a joyful freedom from the burdens of everyday life and an invitation to seek further enlightenment. The 17th century monk Gesshu Soko (1618-1696) reflects "a finger points at the moon but the finger is not itself the moon / if you want to know what is in his mind, ask the moon in the sky." The print's comic style reflects its subject's merriness: his ample stomach and long earlobes indicate comfort, wisdom, and immortality, while the composition's lack of background imagery draws Hotei's relationship with the moon into sharp focus.
Reference:
John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's One Hundred Aspects of the Moon, 2001, cat. no. 62
price: $ 800