'Farmers Celebrating the Autumn Moon'
Series: A Hundred Aspects of the Moon, #100, 1891
This print represents Yoshitoshi's depiction of Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan, and the recognized master of the Haiku. He made a living as a teacher, but renounced the social and urban life of the literary circles, and wandered throughout the country to gain inspiration for his writing. His poems are influenced by his firsthand experience of the world around him, often catching the feelings of a scene in a few simple elements. Here Basho is leaning on his staff when he encounters two farmers celebrating the mid-autumn moon festival. The Haiku reads: "Since the crescent moon, I have been waiting for tonight." This print has rich colors and exquisite detail. This series of 100 prints was published in 1885-92 by Akiyama Buemon. Yoshitoshi used the waxing and waning phases of the moon and the symbolism associated with them as a commentary on the human condition. The artist's own experiences with poverty and mental illness instilled in him a sense of compassion and a desire to explore the depth and range of human emotion. Yoshitoshi was the most influential artist of Meiji era Japan. This series was his most admired. His prints have energy and bring to life the tales of ancient Japan. Tragic love stories, the downfall of the once mighty, untouchable beauty, military conquests, and slices of everyday life. The stories go on and on. Yoshitoshi had the heart of a storyteller, spinning his tales and twisting the outcome to suit his art. He also had the immense talent of a woodblock master, bringing emotion and elegance to an image on paper. This print is handsomely matted, showing its margins, along with the artist seals and publisher's ciphers. It is in excellent condition and is a lifetime print dating to 1891, the year before Yoshitoshi's death. This print measures 13.5" x 9.5" and is framed in a nice burled walnut veneer frame measuring 19" x 15".