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 - Fantastic triptych depicting a lucky omen seen as a sign that the Japanese would be victorious over the Chinese during the Sino-Japanese War. A sacred hawk attacks a dragon amidst swirling black and gray clouds and red flames, symbolizing the Japanese attacking the Chinese. The dragon falls down through the sky, screaming and writhing in pain. The scene appears on what looks like a sheet of paper with the corner turned back at right bearing a medal. At right, an Imperial Army general rides horseback, followed by an officer, each bearing his sword upright, while the edge of a Japanese flag flutters from behind the sheet of paper just to the left. This print was published in January 1895, shortly after the Japanese had taken Port Arthur and Kaipeng, just a few months before the end of the war in April 1895. An incredible, dramatic design, beautifully drawn and detailed, with an allover embossed pattern on the background at right. A rarely seen design.
Artist - Kokunimasa (1874 - 1944)
Image Size - 14" x 27 3/4" + left margin as shown
Condition - This print with nice color and detail as shown. Three separate panels. Paper remnants on reverse at sides from previous mounting. Small losses and thinning at sides, repaired. A few wrinkles at edges and marks. Please see photos for details.
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