Musashi Plain Moon from the series One Hundred Aspects of the Moon (Tsuki hyakushi)

Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi 月岡芳年 (1839-1892)
Historical period(s)
Meiji era, January 1891
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 37.6 x 25.1 cm (14 13/16 x 9 7/8 in)
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

Anne van Biema collection, fox, Japan, Meiji era (1868 - 1912), moon, oban
Provenance research underway.

Foxes have both benevolent and malevolent roles in Japanese legends and folklore. In this serene and haunting image, a fox turns in a strikingly anthropomorphic pose to gaze at her reflection by the light of the full moon. This image on the plain of Musashi, from Yoshitoshi's famous series, One Hundred Aspects of the Moon (Tsuki hyakushi), recalls a traditional Japanese belief that the wide plain near Edo was inhabited by foxes who gathered on New Year's Eve at a tree near the Oji Inari Shrine, where they served as messengers to its deity, the protector of rice cultivation. Farmers looked for the flames emitted by the foxes to judge the probability of good harvests in the coming year.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 133, pp. 320-321.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.