This site requires that you enable Javascript to function properly Scholten Japanese Art | Woodblock Prints | Tsukioka Yoshitoshi no. 92, Monkey-music moon
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Yoshitoshi
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892
One Hundred Aspects of the Moon: no. 92, Monkey-music moon
(Tsuki hyakushi: sarugaku no tsuki)

signed Yoshitoshi with artist's seal Taiso, engraver's mark Enkatsu, and published by Akiyama Buemon, ca. 1892
oban tate-e 13 7/8 by 9 1/2 in., 35.2 by 24.1 cm
This composition depicts a high-ranking samurai look over his left shoulder as the audience for sarugaku (lit. monkey music) walks by. Sarugaku is an early derivation of Noh Theater, originating in the 10th century as a comic yet religiously motivated form of entertainment. By the 15th century, sarugaku had evolved into secular Noh productions; however these maintained both the religious and comic sentiments of its previous iteration. Short interludes called kyogen offered comedic breaks from the theater'’s drama.
The samurai's stern face and formal robes, next to an ornate screen of a crane and the rising sun, contrast with the revelrous, umbrella wielding crowd passing by. Through its presentation of both the samurai and the crowd, the print effectively contrasts a comedic lightness with aesthetic drama. Whether this is a commentary on Noh or something else is uncertain.
Reference:
John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's One Hundred Aspects of the Moon, 2001, cat. no. 92
price: $ 800