no. 62, Moon of Enlightenment
By Tsukioka Yoshitoshi
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Medium: woodcut/woodblock/ukiyo-e, woodblock
Edition size: n/a
Sheet size: 35.2 by 24.1 cm
Price: $800 (excl. taxes)
From the series "One Hundred Aspects of the Moon,"
signed Yoshitoshi with artist's seal Taiso, engraver's mark Enkatsu, and published by Akiyama Buemon, ca. 1888
oban tate-e 13 7/8 by 9 1/2 in., 35.2 by 24.1 cm
Yoshitoshi depicts Hotei, the god of happiness and good fortune, leaning against his linen bag, fabled to be full of treasures. The figure of Hotei pointing at the moon was a favorite subject for Zen painters, as it represents both a joyful freedom from the burdens of everyday life and an invitation to seek further enlightenment. The 17th century monk Gesshu Soko (1618-1696) reflects "a finger points at the moon but the finger is not itself the moon / if you want to know what is in his mind, ask the moon in the sky." The print's comic style reflects its subject's merriness: his ample stomach and long earlobes indicate comfort, wisdom, and immortality, while the composition's lack of background imagery draws Hotei's relationship with the moon into sharp focus.