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One Hundred Aspects of the Moon: No. 82, Kenshin in camp before battle

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Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (aka Yoshitoshi), Japanese, (1839–1892)
One Hundred Aspects of the Moon: No. 82, Kenshin in camp before battle , 1890
Ink on Paper
12 13/16 in. x 8 3/4 in. (325.44 mm x 222.25 mm)

Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Period: Meiji (Japan, 1869-1912)
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer
Accession Number: 93.3.53

Alternate Title: Tsuki hyakushi: Vesuge Kenshin

Uesugi Kenshin before battle:  The warlord Kenshin (1530-78) controlled much of central Japan, but only through constant battle with his neighbor.  Seated outside a windbreak where other soldiers are dining, Kenshin is inspired to write:  Frost fills the camp; the autumn air is still.  Lines of geese cross the moon at 3 a.m.

On mat, in pencil: Marer 359. Artist's seal: Taiso. Description on verso of mat.

Colored ink woodblock on paper; oban.

Object Description
Meiji period Japanese color woodblock print with an image of Uesugi no Terutora (1530-1578), lord of Echigo province. He took Buddhist vows in 1552, shaving his head and taking the name Kenshin, but continued with his military pursuits.

The poem in the upper right reads:

shimo gunei ni michi shuki kyoshi
sugyo no hengan tsuki sanko
- Kenshin

Frost fills the camp and the autumn air is still
lines of returning geese cross sthe moon of the third hour.

"Kenshin is shown in camp during one of his inconclusive campaigns abgainst Takeda Shengen (see also 93.3.51). The camp is suggested by the windbreak of white and indigo fabric behind him. Kenshin is resting his men before battle and has invited his generals to a banquet under the full moon. Dishes of formally arranged food are placed to his left. The third hour mentioned in the poem is the equivalent of midnight.

Kenshin sits on a stool covered with a spotted deerskin. He wears full armor, except that instead of a helmet he has the headdress of a priest over his shoulders and shaved head. The headdress is intricately embossed - this is no ordinary priest. Inspired to compose a poem by the sight of a flight of geese against a full moon, he holds a brush and writing paper. The poem, a couplet containing seven characters per line in the Chinese manner, conveys the peace of an autumn night. The background is simply but effectively suggested by the shadow of a hill and the silhouettes of the geese."

(John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's One Hundred Aspects of the Moon, Seattle: San Francisco Graphic Society, 1992.)

Akiyama Buemon.

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