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Sino Japan War 1894 Meiji Print of Japanese Naval Bomb

Sino Japan War 1894 Meiji Print of Japanese Naval Bomb

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Woodblock Prints: Pre 1900: Item # 381572

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This is a remarkable western style print or engraving from 1894, or Meiji 27th year. The title is "Our Fleet Bombarding the Weihaiwei Fortress". There is an artist's signature towards the lower left, and a text frame on the upper right describing the event. The legend below gives the printing year and date (8th month 31st day), and publication date of 9th month the 4th day. Also gives the publisher and the printer, both name and address. Image approximately 21 1/4 by 15 1/2 inches. Full margins about 1 3/4 inches left and right and slightly smaller top and bottom. Edges dog eared, and paper toned. It looks like newsprint stock on the heavy side. Print itself is in good condition.

This is a rare and pretty remarkable very early Japanese print using early modern technology. It is rarer than traditional woodblock prints.

------------------------------------- Notes. The Meiji Restoration came about from Emperor Meiji's reforms to open Japan to absorb & surpass western technology across the board. Early fruition was found in the successful wars with Russia and China. This war came about through Korea's internal conflicts fomented by Japan. The Korean king called on the Chinese Qing Emperor for assistance but the Chinese were roundly defeated on land and sea. Japan subsequently occupied Korea and Taiwan until 1945. They also obtained an extra-territorial concession in China, gaining the same status as western powers. Coupled with success in the Russo Japan War, this watershed event established the momentum for the Japanese expansionist ambitions leading to World War II. It is remarkable that the drive to surpass in technology (maybe not war) continues to this day. That old Emperor truly understood his people and established a course which continues after 150 years.

A related historical footnote here concerns the Chinese navy. Navy funds from the Chinese Imperial Treasury were spent by the Empress Dowager Cixi to renovate her Summer Palace where one of the most interesting adornments is the stone ship in the lake. The aging Qing fleet was quickly destroyed by the smaller Japanese fleet in 1894 in a separate action. The dragon Empress was quite a different sort from the Emperor Meiji. Her stone ship survives to this day and the guides love to tell this story to tourists.