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n.p. [1853 - 54?]. Woodcut 24x31cm. Folds, minor signs of use, a pretty good copy. ¶ These illicit illustrated news sheets - kawaraban - for the streets were produced by the million for a couple of hundred years so of course few survive. They were produced for anything more interesting than the drop of a hat and the arrival of the Black Ships, the American squadron commanded by Perry, in 1853 and 54 eclipsed any and all tiresome earthquakes, fires, plagues, famines, murders and scandals. For most Japanese this was the same as a squadron of alien space ships arriving on earth now. These prints are the kurofune kawaraban. This print, though this copy is maybe under-inked, is notable for its convincing detail - convincing, not realistic. I get the sense that someone actually saw a steamship not too far back in the process to finished print. Many of these kawaraban were copied from other kawaraban which in turn were run up cobbling together bits of old 'Dutch' prints and anything with a foreigner in it based on reports of what was going on in Tokyo harbour. There is another 1853 kawaraban with the same title as this which at first glance is very similar but it is obvious that a Dutch ship two centuries old has had a wheel slapped on the side. Part of the problem in tracing the origins of these prints is that no matter what the ship is and where the ship is, it was long established that a three quarter view from the stern and a couple of small boats in the foreground is the best way to see them. The figure in the corner is still more samurai than US marine.
AUD 750.00 [Appr.: EURO 481.25 US$ 546.1 | £UK 426.5 | JP¥ 61849] Book number 10474

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