About “One Hundred Phases of the Moon”
Yoshitoshi Tsukioka was active in ukiyo-e from the end of the Edo era through to the Meiji era.
Among his works, “One Hundred Phases of the Moon” is a masterpiece of his latter years.
The powerful composition from a bold point of view and the tranquillity of the moonlit night have full of fresh charm even for us today.
The moon, being visible from anywhere in the world, has been used as a motif to represent many things to many different cultures and artistic traditions around the world. The fact that this series takes the universally familiar moon as its theme is exactly why we believe it has the ability to impress the Japanese sensibility on international audiences through the comparisons that will inevitably be made.
The moon in Japan has, since the time of the Manyoshu, not been depicted as a stand-alone subject but rather in conjunction with the natural scenery of each season, and emotional expression, and we believe this series represents an opportunity to communicate this all the more keenly to international audiences.
While it is true that many of Yoshitoshi’s pictures incorporate multiple traditional Japanese elements, this is not the sum total of them: the richness of his depictions invites the audience into the histories and stories behind his pictures.
Appreciating ukiyo-e is not about “seeing” them. Instead, they have been described as something requiring the interpretation of what is depicted, something to be “read”. We believe that Yoshitoshi’s ‘Tsuki Hyakushi’ series is ideal for being “read” in this way.