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Scholten Japanese Art Gallery
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Musashi Plain Moon

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892

One Hundred Aspects of the Moon: Musashi Plain Moon
(Tsuki hyakushi: Musashino no tsuki)

signed Yoshitoshi with artist's seal Yoshitoshi, carved by Yamamoto, and publisher's date and address seal Meiji nijushinen, ichigatsu, ichika; Nihonbashi-ku Muromachi Sanchome 9-banchi, insatsu ken hakkosha Akiyama Buemon (Meiji 24 [1891], January 1) of Akiyama Buemon of Kokkeido

oban tate-e 14 7/8 by 9 7/8 in., 37.9 by 25 cm

The Musashi plain near Edo was thought to be inhabited by magical foxes, tricksters from Japanese folklore capable of taking human form. In addition to the story of the fox taking the form of the priest Hakuzosu from the kyogen drama The Cry of the Fox, there were numerous stories of foxes taking the form of a beautiful woman to seduce men. This print depicts an elegant vixen at water's edge among tall grasses. The combination of autumnal grasses and flowers and a full moon are a traditional poetic motif associated with the Musashi plain.

Often when a creature or spirit takes human form in Japanese mythology their true nature is visible in the reflection of moonlit water; in a playful turn on convention, the reflection of the animal in the surface of the water is just as it appears to be - a fox.

Keyes 1983, p. 468, no. 478.97
Segi 1985, p. 60, no. 28
van den Ing & Schaap 1992, p. 75, no. 54.97
Akita Museum of Modern Art 1999, p. 31, no. 99
Stevenson 2001, no. 91
Ota Memorial Museum of Art 2009, p. 41, no. 2.91
Newland & Uhlenbeck 2011, p. 139, no. 104
Ota Memorial Museum of Art 2012, p. 154, no. 234