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Scholten Japanese Art Gallery
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Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892
One Hundred Aspects of the Moon: Moon and Smoke
(Tsuki hyakushi: Enchu no tsuki)

signed Yoshitoshi with artist's seal Taiso, carved by Yamamoto, and publisher's date and address seal Meiji jukyunen, nigatsu, -ka; Nihonbashi-ku Muromachi Sanchome 9-banchi, insatsu ken hakkosha Akiyama Buemon (Meiji 19 [1886], February) of Akiyama Buemon of Kokkeido
oban tate-e 13 7/8 by 9 1/2 in., 35.2 by 24.1 cm
This composition, of firemen calmly facing a roaring conflagration, is one of the few designs from the One Hundred Aspects of the Moon series that does not illustrate a specific legend, story, or historical figure. However, the firemen of Edo were legendary heroes themselves. Japanese houses were built primarily of wood and paper, and fires were a constant menace to the populace. Firemen, organized into local troops, were famous for their bravery in fighting fast-moving fires and otherwise infamous for their boisterous behavior on the city streets. If a company of firemen were able to save property, there could be a financial reward for their success. As such, firemen companies (typically comprised of neighborhood tough guys) were very competitive with each other. The prominence of a standard-bearer was crucial in order to lay claim to their daring efforts. In this print, the standard-bearer of one company faces the roaring flames; in the distance the standard-bearer of a different company is visible through the murky smoke.
Highlights of Japanese Printmaking: Part Five - Yoshitoshi, Scholten Japanese Art, New York, 2017, cat. no. 80
Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence, 1983, p. 461, no. 478.21
Shinichi Segi, Yoshitoshi the Splendid Decadent, 1985, p. 58, no. 72.3
Eric van den Ing & Robert Schaap, Beauty and Violence, 1992, p. 133, no. 54.21 (illus.)
John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's 100 Aspects of the Moon, 2001, no. 22
Ota Memorial Museum of Art, Yoshitoshi: 32 Aspects of Women and 100 Aspects of the Moon, 2009, p. 24, no. 2.22
Ota Memorial Museum of Art, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi: 120th Memorial Retrospective, 2012, p. 154, no. 229
price: $ 1,800