Yokohama-e - Yokohama-e are prints depicting foreigners in Yokohama after Japan was opened to trade with the West the 1850s. Previously, Japan had been closed to international trade with only a few strict exceptions, leading to curiosity among the Japanese about the new foreign arrivals and their strange clothing and customs. Many Yokohama-e designs featured people from the "Five Nations," the five countries that signed trade treaties with Japan in 1858: America, England, the Netherlands, Russia, and France. Others were fanciful depictions of foreign cities, often based on Western illustrations rather than direct observation. These prints proved popular, with hundreds of Yokohama-e published between 1859 and about 1880. These wonderful images provide a great look at this historic time period, using the traditional art form of Japanese woodblock prints to record a new subject.
Comments - Terrific triptych depicting balloon ascensions in a foreign country. In the center, two men tend a tethered balloon as it fills with gas from a large hose connected to a cluster of barrels at right. A third helper straddles the hose, possibly trying to regulate the flow. Several other balloons have already taken off, drifting along at upper left with a passenger wave a red flag in each hand. A large crowd has gathered to watch the event, and the buildings in the background are illustrated using Western perspective. An incredible historic subject, beautifully detailed.
Artist - Yoshitora (active circa 1840 - 1880)
Image Size - 14 1/4" x 28 1/2"
Condition - This print with excellent detail as shown. Three separate panels, backed with paper. A few small losses and holes, repaired. Toning, slight soiling, a few creases and wrinkles. Please see photos for details.