An image of The moon's four strings - Semimaru

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

(Japan 1839 – 1892)

The moon's four strings - Semimaru, from the series One hundred aspects of the moon

Location
Not on display
Further information

Semimaru was a blind poet and musician who served the son of Emperor Uda. He was both an historical character and the protagonist in a nō play, 'Semimaru'. When the prince died in 966 he moved to live in the mountains near Kyoto. Here, he is in a remote dilapidated house, playing a 'biwa' (Japanese lute), which has a design of a crescent moon on it. He is surrounded by wild grasses, and in the foreground are the autumn blossoms of beautiful flowers. Ironically, Semimaru cannot not see the beauty of the moon or his poverty stricken surroundings, and all he has left is the splendour of his music.

Place of origin
Japan
Period
Japan: Meiji period 1868–1912
Year
Aug 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
258.2012.98