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 from the Battle of Port Arthur, the first engagement of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904. At left, Lieutenant Commander Yamanaka, the chief gunner of the man-of-war Fuji, direct his men firing a cannon, waving a gloved hand in the air shouting orders. Clouds of smoke billow from the gun port and an injured sailor at right ties a tourniquet around his arm as he kneels on deck. Another officer watches through a pair of binoculars at left, a shell exploding in a burst of orange light against the dark night sky above. A terrific illustration, beautifully composed and rendered with careful detail, including touches of burnishing on the officers' black uniforms. The title cartouche at upper right includes the text in both Japanese and English. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has this image in its collection. A great choice for a military historian.
Artist - Toshihide (1863 - 1925)
Image Size - 14 1/4" x 28" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Three separate panels. Slight creasing, very slight soiling. Please see photos for details. Good overall.