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 - Intriguing triptych depicting the beginning of the Korean Incident, which helped lead to the Sino-Japanese War. Kim Ok-gyun was a pro-Japanese Korean revolutionary who sought refuge in Japan after participating in the 1884 Gapsin Coup. Korea tried to extradite him, but Japan refused. Kim Ok-gyun was lured to Shanghai, where a Korean man killed him at a Japanese Hotel, an act which incensed the Japanese. Kim Ok-gyun is shown in the center, floating upon a cloud of dark smoke and glaring angrily as he looks down upon a Korean castle or shrine. He wears a delicately embossed robe with a dragon chest plate, and a hat with a sheer black covering. His long hair and beard flutter in the wind. Ornate tile-roofed towers rise above the treetops at lower left, the red-orange color adding a lively note to the somber color of the background. A fascinating subject with beautiful detail and shading, also in the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Artist - Ginko (active 1874 - 1897)
Image Size - 14 1/4" x 28 5/8" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Three separate panels. Paper remnants on reverse at corners from previous mounting. Hole, tear at edge, repaired. A few creases at corners, a couple small marks. Please see photos for details.