An image of The moon of the Milky Way

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

(Japan 1839 – 1892)

The moon of the Milky Way, from the series One hundred aspects of the moon

Location
Not on display
Further information

The two figures looking at each other across the Milky Way represent the stars Vega and Altair, or in Japanese (originally Chinese) mythology, the Lord of Heaven’s daughter Shokujo (the Weaver Maiden) and Kengyū (the celestial Herdsboy). Because Shokujo’s matrimonial duties led her to neglect her work, her father decreed that she and Kengyū could only meet once a year. The story is the basis of the Japanese Tanabata festival, during which young people write romantic poems and hang them on bamboo branches in front of their houses. Traditionally, girls pray to the Shokujo star for sewing skills and a faithful husband like Kengyū.

Place of origin
Japan
Period
Japan: Meiji period 1868–1912
Year
Sep 1886
Media
Print
Medium
colour woodblock; ōban
Dimensions
39.0 x 26.0 cm
Signature & date

Signed and dated.

Credit
Yasuko Myer Bequest Fund 2012
Accession number
258.2012.40