America: Balloon Ascension, 1867

by Yoshitora (active circa 1840 - 1880)

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America: Balloon Ascension, 1867 by Yoshitora (active circa 1840 - 1880)

Original Yoshitora (active circa 1840 - 1880) Japanese Woodblock Print
America: Balloon Ascension, 1867

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 ascension in America. A group of women and men are gathered on a verandah at left, watching as a large balloon flies by, a passenger waving his hat as they pass. Two other balloons are already in the sky, each bearing two American flags, and one with an anchor trailing from it. Another large flag ripples in the wind from a flagpole in the center. The women are dressed in elegant fashions, with large hoop skirts and ruffled bonnets, one with a red headband and dangling earrings. Buildings line the shore, rather imaginatively depicted based on European prints rather than actual images of a city in the United States. A fantastic composition with wonderful detail in the setting and the balloons. An unusual subject offering fascinating insight into the Japanese depiction of foreigners.

Artist - Yoshitora (active circa 1840 - 1880)

Image Size - 14 1/8" x 28 3/4" + margins as shown

Condition - Good color and detail. Small losses at edges, repaired. Creasing throughout.

America: Balloon Ascension, 1867 by Yoshitora (active circa 1840 - 1880)
America: Balloon Ascension, 1867 by Yoshitora (active circa 1840 - 1880)

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