Bats in the Fifth Act of Chushingura and The Story of Anchin and Kiyohime, c. 1882
Ink on Paper
14 in. x 9 1/2 in. (355.6 mm x 241.3 mm)
Two images joined horizontally.
Top image: seals in the upper left and right side-center. Lower image: seals in the upper left, upper right, and lower right. On mat in pencil: Marer 3. Signed: Yoshitoshi. Artist's seal: Taiso (top) Yoshitoshi (bottom).
Colored ink woodblock on paper. Oban (two chuban prints on one oban sheet).
Meiji period Japanese color woodblock print with two images. The top image is of two bats, and the lower image is of people playing with a bell.
Yoshitoshi shared the ambivalence of Meiji intellectuals fascinated by the West but profoundly nostalgic for much of what western culture was destroying. His caricatures of modern life could be very funny, but his concern was not to document change, the focus of most other print artists of the period. He wanted to transmit the quality of old Edo culture to a world that was being transformed. He saw himself as the last of a breed of popular ukiyo-e artists, doomed to vanish along with the culture he felt it was his destiny to depict.
(Ref. John Stevenson, "Yoshitoshi's Women," p.9)
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