EIGHT VIEWS OF WARRIORS IN THE PROVINCES

The series Eight Views of Warriors in the Provinces (Shokoku musha hakkei) was published in 1871 and depicts battles from the recently concluded Boshin War of 1868-1869. The war was fought in the early days following the Meiji Restoration (1868), which elevated the young Emperor Meiji (1852-1912) to the throne and ended the Tokugawa Shogunate. As the new regime began to aggressively consolidate power, forces loyal to the deposed shogun and invested in Japan's traditional balance of political power fought to restore something akin to the old order. The civil war was short-lived, however, as the Imperial army quickly gained allies and in a series of victories drove the rebels successively further north. After their expulsion from the Japanese mainland, the rebels founded the Ezo Republic in Hakodate. Led by Enomoto Takeaki (1836-1908) and tentatively recognized by Great Britain and France, the Republic was not long for the world—it was decisively defeated at Hakodate Harbor in 1869 and subsequently dissolved. Yoshitoshi would dedicate many compositions to the Boshin War, as well as the 1877 Satsuma Rebellion.

The series marks an important stylistic transition with western compositional elements, notably the deep, dark colors with shading akin to chiaroscuro. This is perhaps evidence of influence from the series' publisher, the young Yorozuya Magobei (1843-1921), with whom Yoshitoshi would later the same year publish the western-influenced series Tokyo Restaurants and their Very Beautiful Dishes (Tokyo ryori sukoburu beppin) in 1871.

Fushimi in Yamashiro
Shirakawa in Rikuzen
Battle at Hakodate Harbor
kikumon

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site last updated
August 10, 2020

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
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