Kobayashi Kiyochika, 1847-1915
Our Field Artillery Attacks the Enemy Camp at Jiuliancheng
(Waga yasen hohei Kyurenjo bakuei kogeki)
titled at the top edge of the center sheet, Waga yasen hohei Kyurenjo bakuei kogeki, signed in lower left corner of left sheet, Kiyochika, with artist's seal, with carver's seal Hori Yata, dated in red on the left margin of the left sheet, Meiji nijushichinen juchigatsu juichi ka (Meiji 27, November 11), followed by the address of the publisher Inoue Kichijiro (Teikado), 1894
oban tate-e triptych 29 1/2 by 14 3/4 in., 75 by 37.6 cm
Kiyochika was lured back to designing prints with the outbreak of the war with China in 1894 and the sudden burst in popularity of battle prints. This print is one of his most evocative senso-e (war prints) depicting a scene almost completely enveloped in dark heavy bands of rain, slicing and striating our view. Although Kiyochika had a unique personal history with experience in real battles during the Boshin War, neither he, nor his colleagues, would have seen the sheer power of the pyrotechnic exposures that were employed during the Sino-Japanese War. The only colorful illumination in this otherwise dark rendition is the artillery fire, pulsating yellow and orange in the distance. In this powerful composition Kiyochika focuses on the pathos of the soldiers manning the cannon to the left and their mounted commander in the center panel, his horse bowing his head in the pouring rain.
Hideki Kikkawa, Kobayashi Kiyochika: Studies in Light and Shadow of the Westernization of Japan, Seigensha Art Publishing, 2015, p. 145, no. 217
Kobayashi Kiyochika: A Retrospective, Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, 2016, p. 142, no. 228
Bradley M. Bailey, Flash of Light, Fog of War: Japanese Military Prints, 1894-1905, Ackland Art Museum, 2017, p. 109, no. 51
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession no. 2000.411a-c
(inv. no. 10-4876)
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