An image of Does the cuckoo also/ announce its name from above the clouds?/ Yorimasa extemporises:/ I only bent my bow/ and the arrow shot itself

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

(Japan 1839 – 1892)

Does the cuckoo also/ announce its name from above the clouds?/ Yorimasa extemporises:/ I only bent my bow/ and the arrow shot itself, from the series One hundred aspects of the moon

Location
Not on display
Further information

The courtier depicted here is Minamoto no Yorimasa, an acclaimed poet and heroic warrior of the 12th century. His best-known exploit is the killing of the mystic beast 'nue', a composite creature that has the face of a monkey, the body of a badger, a tiger’s paws and tail, and a snake’s head at the end. The 'nue' disturbed the emperor’s sleep with its shrieks and Yorimasa succeeded in shooting it down with a single arrow. The incident is included in the epic ‘The tales of Heike’ and dramatised in the nō play 'Nue'. The moon is not included in the design, but the shape of Yorimasa’s bow and his gaze upwards hint at a crescent moon.

Place of origin
Japan
Period
Japan: Meiji period 1868–1912
Year
19 Mar 1888
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
258.2012.58