An image of The moon of the moor - Yasumasa


(Japan 1839 – 1892)

The moon of the moor - Yasumasa, from the series One hundred aspects of the moon

Not on display
Further information

Fujiwara no Yasumasa (958-1036) was a courtier and famous musician in the Heian court. The legend recounts that Yasumasa had a brother known as Hakamadare Yasusake who was an outlaw. One evening under the full moon, Yasumasa was walking through the moors and playing his flute when Hakamadare, in need of new clothes, crept behind Yasumasa intent to kill him for his robes. But Hakamadare became mesmerised by the music he heard from the flute so continued to follow him home. Yasumasa finally noticed who was behind him, he gave Hakamadare the robes and sent him away, saying words to the effect of: ‘next time, ask’.

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
20 May 1888
colour woodblock; ôban
39.0 x 26.0 cm
Signature & date

Signed and dated.

Yasuko Myer Bequest Fund 2012
Accession number