This site requires that you enable Javascript to function properly Scholten Japanese Art | Woodblock Prints | Tsukioka Yoshitoshi no. 8, Moonlight Patrol - Saito Toshimitsu
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Yoshitoshi
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892
One Hundred Aspects of the Moon: no. 8, Moonlight Patrol - Saito Toshimitsu
(Tsuki hyakushi: gekka no sekko - Saito Toshimitsu)

signed Yoshitoshi with artist's seal Taiso, carver's seal not given, and published by Akiyama Buemon, 1885
oban tate-e 13 7/8 by 9 1/2 in., 35.2 by 24.1 cm
This composition depicts General Saito Toshimitsu (1534-1582), a retainer of Akechi Mitsuhide (1528-1582). Toshimitsu sits upon his horse in the Kamo River, looking towards Kyoto. He has just tried to convince Mitsuhide to stay loyal to the daimyo Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582). However, when Mitsuhide insisted that they revolt against their leader, Toshimitsu relented; he stands here prepared to march on Nobunaga's headquarters. Though they would successfully kill Nobunaga, Mitsuhide would have only 13 days as the shogun before being assassinated himself. A print later in the series shows Toshimitsu's father, Kuranosuke, just before his death.
The low vantage point may give the print a photographic feel to a modern viewer, but such a perspective was an established convention of woodblock printing (and a favorite style of Hiroshige). Regardless, it allows Toshimitshu and his horse to dominate the composition. His long, curved naginata (spear) extends out over the still water while the general patiently sits in full battle regalia.
Reference:
John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's One Hundred Aspects of the Moon, 2001, cat. no. 8
price: $ 900