(Japan 1839 – 1892)

The moon of Yamaki mansion - Kagekado, from the series One hundred aspects of the moon

Not on display
Further information

Katō Kagekado was retainer of Yoritomo (1147-1199) who was the leader of the Minamoto clan. It was on a full moon that Yoritomo sent men to attack the Yamaki mansion, home of the Taira clan. The Minamoto clan were enemies of the Taira clan whose leader was Kanetaka. Here Kagekado is forging his way into the mansion with his helmet at end of a spear and lunges at a shadow, made by the light of the moon, who is Kanetaka. Kanetaka loses his balance and eventually has his head cut off as victory to Yoritomo.

Yoshitoshi’s career straddled two eras – the last years of the Edo period and the first few decades of modern Japan following the Meiji Restoration in 1867. Initially enthusiastic and opened to Western influxes, he became increasingly sceptical about the loss of numerous aspects of traditional Japanese art and culture due to rapid industrialisation and Westernisation. In a time when modern reproductive technologies such as photography and lithography were introduced to Japan and enjoyed high popularity, Yoshitoshi concentrated his efforts in introducing new themes and techniques to the stagnant art of ukiyo-e colour woodblock prints, taking it thus to a new height, before it definitely declined after his death. His highly imaginative, often flamboyant and even disturbing depictions of historical events, warriors, beautiful women and the supernatural has led him to be recognised as the last great master of traditional Japanese woodblock print.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, August 2012.

Place of origin
Japan: Meiji period 1868–1912
Mar 1886
colour woodblock; ôban
39.0 x 26.0 cm
Signature & date

Signed and dated.

Yasuko Myer Bequest Fund 2012
Accession number