On The Square

Yoshitoshi Worked with Wood

By groveuday

Sep 04,2015 | 09:00 EDT

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi is widely recognized as the last great master of the Japanese ukiyo-e genre of woodblock printing and painting. His career spanned two eras – the last years of Japan’s Edo period (1603-1868), and the first years of modernization following the Meiji Restoration.

As time passed, Yoshitoshi became increasingly concerned about the loss of traditional Japanese culture. So much so that by the end of his career, he was almost single-handedly struggling against time and technology. Alone, he managed to push the traditional Japanese woodblock print to new levels, before it effectively died with him in 1892. Posthumously, his reputation continues to grow.

Two of the 47 woodblock prints that make up The Faithful Samurai

On Thursday, September 10, Rago offer bidders the opportunity to sample the legacy of this heroic Japanese artist when they offer Lot 4031 of their Live Online Only Asian Art sale. Titled “The Faithful Samurai,” it features 47 woodblock prints, separately framed, that tell the story of Ronin, who in the early 18th Century sought revenge for the humiliation that led their Lord, Asano Takumi-no-Kami of Ako, to commit ritual suicide.  

Rago’s Asian Art sale is 100 lots strong and features work by Kawase Hasui (above), Hiroshi Yoshida (below), Utagawa Hiroshige and other printmakers, as well as original Asian watercolors and ink scrolls.

Look now at the full catalog.