Following the forced opening of Japan to world trade in the mid-Nineteenth Century, there was a great rush by the Western Hemisphere to enjoy the goods of this graceful and productive land. There was also a great curiosity on both sides to portray and understand the customs and effects of the foreigners. One of the products of this venture is the famous and delightful Black Ship Scroll, now owned by the Japan Society.
Related to that document is this series of paintings depicting how a man transforms himself into that most mysterious of Japanese figures, a samurai warrior. The process is shown in 11 steps on this scroll, reading from lower left to upper right, now splendidly mounted as a floor screen (byobu) measuring 44-1/2 inches high by 100 inches full width. The paintings date from around 1860 and are in superb condition.