This is a great week for moongazing. For starters, you can feast your eyes on the full Corn Moon tonight and tomorrow. According to Farmers’ Almanac, this full Moon gets its name from the corn harvest season. You might think of September’s full Moon as the Harvest Moon, and it usually is, but that name actually refers to the closest full Moon to the equinox. (Since the equinox is September 22nd this year, Oct 1st is the Harvest Moon.) So set your sights on a special Corn Moon while you can. And speaking of unmissable moongazing moments, may we introduce our new Vintage Edition release, Grasses at full moon, from Japanese kacho-e painter and printmaker Ohara Koson.
Autumn Moon viewing, or Tsukimi, is a celebrated Japanese pastime and the focus of an annual lunar festival linked to the Harvest Moon. A way to give thanks for a good harvest, Tsukimi tracks as far back as the Heian period (794-1185) and hasn’t waned (heh heh) in popularity. Traditions include offerings to the Moon of seasonal produce, snacking on Moon-reminiscent, round rice dumplings, and decorating with susuki, Japanese pampas grass. Could that be susuki in Grasses at full moon, gracefully tracing the curve of that cream-colored celestial satellite? Certainly seems Koson placed them side-by-side for a reason, the familiar symbols of an autumnal festival. The rich washes of earth tones in the flora and the Moon’s buttery hue also bring to mind the nourishing spoils of a successful harvest season.
This image stars (so to speak!) the Moon—lit from within, in crisp relief against a tranquil taupe sky—but as a whole it’s an homage to the beauty of nature at a tender turning point. Ohara Koson was best known for his kacho-e (bird-and-flower) work, a nature-driven style characterized by delicate, detailed outlines. Dating back to 14th century Japan, kacho-e became particularly popular in the early 20th century shin-hanga movement in which Koson figured prominently, a revival of earlier ukiyo-e art emphasizing the separation of artist, carver, and printer.
Spending some time with nature—whether in the wild or through a frame—is a (scientifically supported!) way to reduce stress, and a quiet moment with the Moon definitely counts toward your quota. You have an unusually generous three chances to see tonight/tomorrow’s full Corn Moon at its fairest. Find a view of the clear eastern horizon at dusk today and you’ll glimpse the full rising Moon is all its ghostly golden glory. Tomorrow, 9/2 offers another opportunity to catch the Corn Moon in the early morning as it sinks west just before sunrise. And tomorrow’s sunset and moonrise are close enough to enable that third spectacular sighting in the twilight sky. Of course you can meditate on the full Moon anytime you want if you collect this new edition. Go ahead and ask for the Moon! It’s all yours.
With art for everyone,