Lot 00927
N.1 ukiyo-e woodblock print
Year: 1858
Condition: good
Size: 25 x 37 cm



The Moon Rabbit, in Japanese “Tsuki no Usagi” (月の兎), is a creature present in the mythology and folklore of many Far Eastern countries. It is precisely a rabbit that would live on the moon. It owes its origin to a pareidolia illusion common in Asia for which it is possible to see, in the depressions of the illuminated face of the full moon, the figure of a rabbit with a mortar and pestle.

In this woodblock print by the artist Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞), left panel of a triptych entitled “Contest of Flowers: Night Cherry Blossoms in the Pleasure Quarter” (花競廓夜桜), the theme of the Moon Rabbit decorates the kimono (着物) of a beautiful oiran (花魁) courtesan.

The fine print on Japanese washi paper (和紙), produced in August 1858 by the publisher Moriya Jihei (森屋冶兵衛), owner of Kinshindo (錦森堂), and by the carver Hori Fuji (彫藤), despite the evident patina of time and the presence of some small holes as well as a slight fold mark in the upper right corner, is in overall good condition.