"Jokisen shika" [Japanese drawing of the Black Ships]. [Edo: July, 1853.]
Lot 55
"Jokisen shika" [Japanese drawing of the Black Ships].
[Edo: July, 1853.]
Sold for US$ 2,125 inc. premium

Lot Details
"Jokisen shika" [Japanese drawing of the Black Ships].
[Edo: July, 1853.] A drawing of the four ships of Commodore Perry's squadron at anchor in Uraga Bay in July 1853, pencil, ink and wash on mulberry paper, backed on hessian cloth paper. 280 x 395 mm. The view shows the ships out in the bay (two paddle steamers and two sailing vessels), each with annotations in Japanese on their size, etc, the shore line in the foreground marked with a coastal observation tower, and a building described as "on-ban-sho," a "check point." Crease marks along old folds, some light water staining running down the drawing.

An attractive drawing made at the time of the first arrival of Perry off Uraga bay in July 1853. The details of the ships must have been taken from a first hand source, but the depiction of the paddle steamers with two wheels is erroneous (there would have been only one) and the five masts on each is wrong (there were 3), but it is possible this was copied from a poorer sketch taken on the spot. The appearance of these large warships in Japanese waters terrified the Japanese who had no concept of ships of this size and power, and who had no weapons which could harm any such American Naval vessel. As this was a momentous event, sketches such as these of the foreign intruders and their ships would have circulated in Edo (Tokyo), for many months after their arrival. The drawing describes the ships anchored in "East Uraga Bay, mouth of Edo Bay, roughly the same spot that Commodore Biddle anchored seven years before."
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