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Yoshitoshi
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892
One Hundred Aspects of the Moon: no. 51, Lady Gosechi
(Tsuki hyakushi: Gosechi no myobu)

signed Yoshitoshi with artist's seal Taiso, carver's seal of Yamamoto, dated 1887, sixth month, twenty-third day
oban tate-e 35.2 by 23.9
The title, Gosechi no myobu, refers to the woman in the center of the composition. Gosechi, conventionally meaning "five festivals," refers to a legend regarding an apsara (Buddhist celestial) that danced to five measures of music performed by Emperor Temmu (631-685); and myobu was a term of respect for mid-ranking women of the court dating back to the Nara period (710-794). Dressed in the clothing of a nun, she plays a koto (lit. zither) with picks attached to her fingers. Women of high rank would often become nuns, either because of old age or if tragedy befell their family. The latter seems more likely in this case. The castle in which she plays is dilapidated (a broken screen visible in the upper left of the composition) and one of her male visitors wipes a tear from his eye. This scene, though not identifiable to any particular historical figure or event, can be located to the Heian Period (794-1185) by the style of the men's robes.
Reference:
John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's One Hundred Aspects of the Moon, 2001, no.51
price: $ 475