This is a rare Japanese woodblock triptych from a group of prints known as Yokohama-e. Yokohama-e (literally “Yokohama pictures”) are ukiyo-e Japanese woodblock prints depicting foreigners and scenes of Yokohama. In 1859, the port of Yokohama was opened to foreigners, and ukiyo-e artists, primarily of the Utagawa school, produced more than 800 different woodblock prints in response to a general curiosity about these strangers. The production of Yokohama-e ceased in the 1880s. This print triptych portrays the Emperor on the way to his palace accompanied by a large retinue of horsemen and guards.
Please notice the presence of American flags flying amongst the other flags. Clearly this print was done in the period of 1879-1880s when foreigners were in the port of Yokohama. During the Meiji Reformation the Japanese adopted many of the customs of the West such as the uniforms worn by the Emperor and his horsemen. Western observers can also be seen in the group of people at the bottom left of the print.
The print is in three pieces that must then be framed to form the complete triptych. Some people frame then all together - others have a wooden frame strip between each of the three sections. When the three sections are placed side by side, the triptych measures 28 1/2" by 14 1/2". It has the signature of the artist, Nobokazu Yosai, 1872-1944 and a stamp that shows that the work was done during 1894 -just near the end of the Yokohama-e prints period. It is in generally good condition. Usually, every Yokohama print that we have seen has ragged borders - this one has very little roughage along the edges. There is some light bleed through of red - this can be seen in the far right section - just above the distant temple roofs.