Original Kokyo (1877 - 1904) Japanese Woodblock Print
Outside Port Arthur, Our Death-defying Naval Squads, in Scrapped Vessels Disguised as Warships and under a Shower of Bullets, Bravely Destroyed their Ships to Block the Entrance of the Harbor--In the Gray Dawn, February 25, 1904
Senso-e - Senso-e are prints depicting wars, most often the Sino-Japanese War of 1894 - 1895 and the Russo-Japanese War in 1904 - 1905. Primarily triptychs, these images filled the journalistic need for illustrations of current activities on the battle front, but also acted as propaganda, encouraging support for the wars and fostering patriotism. These prints emphasized the bravery and success of the army and navy, using dramatic designs and bold compositions, with customers eagerly purchasing the latest prints. Some famous Meiji era artists did senso-e, including Kiyochika, Chikanobu, and Gekko. By the time the Russo-Japanese War came around, woodblock prints had fallen out of favor due to competition with photography and lithography, so fewer designs exist from this time period as compared to the Sino-Japanese War.
Comments - Dramatic scene of Japanese troops scuttling navy ships in order to block the harbor at Port Arthur. As searchlights stream across the dawn sky, sailors take to smaller boats, rowing for their lives to escape the large vessels as they go down with explosions of red flames and smoke. At left, a young man tosses a rope to a fellow sailor bobbing in the undulating waves. A fantastic image from the Russo-Japanese War, with beautiful detail and wonderful handling of the light and shading. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has this image in its collection.
Artist - Kokyo (1877 - 1904)
Image Size - 13 3/4" x 27 1/2" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Three separate panels. Small loss at edge, a few holes, repaired. Creasing, wrinkling, slight toning, soiling, and spotting. Please see photos for details.