Japanese woodblock print or Ukiyo-e One Hundred Aspects of the Moon – No 51, Lady Gosechi

Japanese woodblock print or Ukiyo-e One Hundred Aspects of the Moon – No 51, Lady Gosechi


An image showing courtiers from the Heian period (794–1185) listening to a female courtier play the koto 琴, a traditional Japanese stringed instrument. The music moves her to tears. A blanket covers the woman, so we see only her hand and part of her face. The print most probably depicts one of the women who worked for people of high social status in the period mentioned, and whose job was to be at the emperor’s disposal to attend to his needs. This is also a play on words, as one of the words in the title of the work, gosechi 五節, means the five events or festivals that took place when the harvested rice was offered to the gods, featuring special dances performed by selected beauties. At the same time, in music it means five bars. What is special about this collection is that Yoshitoshi included the image of the moon in each of the hundred prints, including this one. (KH, JR)

Author: 月岡 芳年 Tsukioka Yoshitoshi
Workshop / factory / publisher: 秋山武右エ門 Akiyama Buemon
Material description: paper
Manufacturing technique: coloured woodblock print or Ukiyo-e
Dimensions: height: 36.8 cm, length: 25 cm
Signature: 芳年 / Yoshitoshi
No. of parts: 1
Current owner: Celje Regional Museum
Date of the last acquisition: 1957–1960
Previous owners and periods of ownership: Alma M. Karlin, Thea Schreiber Gammelin, Celje Regional Museum
History of exhibition: Celje Regional Museum, Celje, 16.10.2019–31.5.2020 (exhibition: Azija me je povsem uročila [Asia Utterly Bewitched Me])
Press releases: HRVATIN, Klara, ROBIN, Jernej, TRNOVEC, Barbara. 2019. Japonski lesorezi [Japanese woodblock prints]. V Azija me je povsem uročila: katalog občasne razstave ob 130. obletnici rojstva Alme M. Karlin in 100. obletnici njenega odhoda na pot okrog sveta (Asia Utterly Bewitched Me: catalogue of the special exhibition on the 130th anniversary of Alma M. Karlin and the 100th anniversary of her world tour). Celje: Pokrajinski muzej; Ljubljana: Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete: 59–71.

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