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Art of Floating World
Art of Floating World
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Tsukioka Yoshitoshi
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi 
 
This print is by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, from the series One Hundred Aspects of the Moon. This series totally comprise 100 prints. The subjects of this series ranges from Japanese history to mythology, as well as some scenes from Japanese life, both historical and contemporary. As seen from this print, there is heavy use of rough brushstrokes, which are very expertly made in the woodblock medium, this is never seen before in Japanese woodblock prints. Like other prints in this series, he shows people from all angles. The convention in woodblock printing always showed faces in three-quarter view. Also in this print, the faces are portrayed more realistically than other woodblock printers of that time. There are some Western perspective techniques showing in this print because the printer lived in the Meiji era of modernization. It shows in this print that the girl looks like traditional Japanese and the demon that is holding a script has a western looking face. Also he has wings that make him looks like an angel but his face looks evil. The printer used bright aniline dyes, as seen in this print the bright colors. Also, in this print like his other prints from the series, he used the karazuri technique (an embossed printing effect, a technique called gauffrage in the West. Produced by hard pressure on an un-inked block, with the print dampened, leaving whatever pattern is carved in the block embossed into the paper). He also used kirazuri (Use of fine mica flakes scattered on the print while the ink is wet; produces a subdued sparking effect) and shomenzuri (a polishing technique similar to gauffrage, which was used to produce intricate patterns on black areas of some prints; a carved block was placed behind the print and the printed surface rubbed with a hard polisher). These techniques can be seen in this print with the black areas around the moon, and the girlís hair and the background have pattern effects. This painting is called Mt. Yoshino Midnight Moon. In this print, it looks like the demon is tempting a maid, but the mood of this print looks like a horror story because the demonís sinister look, and the time is also midnight. The maiden looks calm and trying to persuade the demon to leave. The other prints in this series similar to this one also show some kind of events that are going to happen. In the Itsukushima Moon print of this series, it shows a courtesan in a boat going to the main shrine at Itsukushima; she is probably going to a ceremony there because she has a drum on her boat. Similar to most prints of this series, the background color turns white in the middle of the print. In another painting called Mt. Otawa Moon, the color is also white in the middle with green background. The moon in this print is black with black background around it; it is obvious because of the white outlines. Similar to another print of this series with the moon looks pink surrounds by pink background and it has dark outlines to make it obvious in the print.