American Steamer Gunship Spouting Smoke: Picture of Foreign Ships (ikoku no fune no zu異国の船の圖)

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Artist: Anonymous Yokohama-e Artist
Title: Picture of Foreign Ships (ikoku no fune no zu異国の船の圖)
Date: ca 1850s

Foreign seamen are seen scrambling aboard a large black steam-powered ship. This must be a kawara-ban print that shows one of Commander Perry’s Black Ships, which arrived in the early 1850s. This work lists its fearsome size as well as its potent firepower. The flag shows a single star against a row of stripes, so we can assume that this is a US vessel. The huge harpoon hanging from the bowsprit is something of a mystery.  The enormous smokestack bellows black clouds of smoke that obstruct the upper rigging of the third mast. 

The upper rows of  writing read: Four large ships

 Length: 154.7 m;  Width:63 m;  Cannons: 30; Artillery:  12; Small Cannons:  12 

 Funnel:   ca. 7.5m; Maru?: 14m; Waterwheel: ca.15m

The Writing Below reads: Two small ships Length:   72.8m; Width:    36.4m; Cannon:  12; Small Cannons:  25; Artillery:   5.

Judging from the flag on the ship, it is a picture of one of four large American ships in a harbor (No mentioning of the ships as warships, although the cannons seem to make their intention plain). This must be one of  kawara-ban prints published when the Black Ships of America, steam ships,  led by Commodore Perry arrived at Uraga Harbor in 1853.

Condition: Very good impression and condition. Wrinkles.

Dimensions: 18.6 x 26.9 cm
Signed: Unsigned, as usual

Sealed: There is a seal “Ki-no-Kichi 紀ノ吉“ on the right.