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Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892
Eight Honorable Ways of Conduct: Fidelity, Yamanaka Shikanosuke Yukimori
(Meiyo hakko no uchi: Shin, Yamanaka Shikanosuke Yukimori)
signed oju Taiso Yoshitoshi, with publisher's seal shuppanjin Morimoto Junzaburo, and dated Meiji juichinen, ichigatsu, -ka (Meiji 11 , January), and priced ka ni sen go rin (price 2 sen 5 rin)
oban tate-e 14 5/8 by 9 7/8 in., 37 by 25.1 cm
Yamanaka Shikanosuke Yukimori (1543-1576), popularly known as the 'samurai of the crescent moon' was vassal in the service of Amago Katsuhisa (1553-1578) of the Amago clan of Izumo Province. When Kozuki Castle was laid siege by the Mori clan in 1578, Yukimori sought the help of Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582), who ultimately used the siege as an opportunity to advance his own agenda and failed to provide any support, allowing the castle to fall and Katsuhisa to commit seppuku. Yukimori's fate is not clear, in some versions of his legend he dies at the castle, in others he is murdered by members of the Mori clan shortly thereafter.
He often depicted wearing a crescent moon on his helmet, believed to have protective powers and emblematic of the harvest moon under which he was born. He is conventionally shown at a shoreline while deep in prayer to the moon (which appears to be a lunar eclipse in this case) in preparation for a duel with a vassal of the Mori clan named Shinagawa Daisen on an island located on the Toda River in 1565; an encounter from which he emerged victorious.
Highlights of Japanese Printmaking: Part Five - Yoshitoshi, Scholten Japanese Art, New York, 2017, cat. no. 65
Will H. Edmunds, Pointers and Clues to the Subjects of Chinese and Japanese Art, 1934, p. 688-689 (re: Yukimori)
Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence, 1983, p. 428, no. 399.5
Eric van den Ing & Robert Schaap, Beauty and Violence, 1992, p. 122, no. 33.5 (illus.)
Andreas Marks, Publishers of Japanese Woodblock Prints, 2011, pp. 22-26 (re: print pricing)
Philadelphia Museum of Art, accession no. 1989-47-50