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Hashimoto Gyokuransai, artist’ name Utagawa Sadahide (1807-1878/79)

 

Yokohama kaikõ kenbunshi (Record of sights and sounds in the open port of Yokohama, 1862)

Rare first and only edition of three volumes, with blue blind-stamped stitched covers each profusely illustrated with thirty-six images over two pages, eleven images on one page, including three folding pages showing the whole port of Yokohama and the Bund, and thirty-six pages of text. Volume one opens with a coloured frontis showing a composite of the five foreign flags of the treaty nations with the artist’s name and book title in a red circle superimposed over the flags.

Woodblock print illustrated books, ink on paper, H. 24.4 x W. 17.5 x D. 1.3 cm (each)

The books contain vivid illustrations and detailed anecdotes concerning the customs of the first foreigners in Yokohama, as seen through Japanese eyes. The activities of American, British, Dutch, French, Russian and Chinese are recorded in much detail by Sadahide who was a keen observer of foreigners in Yokohama; cigar-smoking American merchants, horseback riding men and women, (drunken) sailors, women in elaborate dresses and children, pool-playing, a photographer, and the big foreign ships. The work was issued in two parts, volume 1-3 in 1862, and volumes 4-6 in 1865, but they are hardly ever found complete with all six volumes together. Sadahide was selected in 1866 as one of the artists to represent Japan in the International Exhibition to be held in Paris in 1867, for which he received the French Legion d’Honneur.