An image of A Buddhist monk receives cassia seeds on a moonlit night

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

(Japan 1839 – 1892)

A Buddhist monk receives cassia seeds on a moonlit night, from the series One hundred aspects of the moon

Location
Upper Asian gallery
Further information

This figure of an 'arhat' ('luohan' in Chinese; 'rakan' in Japanese), a Buddhist who has achieved enlightenment, is catching cassia seeds in his begging bowl as they fall from the moon, which, if eaten, provide immortality. The story of the magical cassia ('katsura') trees on the moon are from Chinese and Japanese legend (see 258.2012.26 'Cassia-tree moon'). This 'arhat' has a brilliant moon as his halo, long ears that signify his wisdom, and numerous characteristics that imply cross-cultural inspirations, such as his Chinese robe decorated with dragon medallions and lotus flowers, and his Indian sandals. He has features that may make him Indian, for example his beard, and this is perhaps an allusion to Daruma (Bodhidharma), who travelled from India to China to teach Buddhism.

Place of origin
Japan
Period
Japan: Meiji period 1868–1912
Year
Jun 1891
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
258.2012.93