Kokunimasa: Hexaptych of the Great Victory of the Japanese Navy
Artist: Utagawa Kokunimasa (1874-1944)
Title: Great Victory of the Japanese Navy: The Great Battle between the Japanese and Chinese Navies off Dagushan.
Great Victory of the Japanese Navy: The Great Battle between the Japanese and Chinese Navies off Dagushan. A six-panel hexaptych; Polyptychs larger than three sheets are rather seldom seen, as a full set of blocks had to be created for each oban sheet. We can liken this view to a panorama setting on our phone. Many of the large battles of the Sino-Japanese War of 1895-95 took place at sea, giving woodblock artists the opportunity to depict modern naval warfare. Here, as usual with Japanese propaganda prints, the Japanese Navy is in formation, in control and largely unscathed. The enemy’s ships are in disarray and are outdated and are being destroyed. Several Chinese sailors cling to the masts and rigging of their sinking boat in a heartbreaking detail. Smoke and artillery fire fill much of the print at left.
Condition: Very good impression, color and condition. Unbacked, with white area of upper margin trimmed and some hinging remnants, verso.
Reference: See Saint Louis Art Museum collection. See the Visualizing Cultures online essay of MIT.
Dimensions: ôban hexaptych (35.7 x 144 cm)
Publisher: Fukada Kumajiro