Kobayashi Kiyochika Capturing the Pescadores Islands in Taiwan

Kobayashi Kiyochika, 1847-1915

Our Elite Forces Capturing the Pescadores Islands in Taiwan
(Seiei naru waga gun Taiwan Houkoto senryo suru no zu)

signed on left sheet, Kiyochika, with artist's seal Kiyo, dated on the left margin of the left sheet, Meiji nijushichinen, junigatsu (Meiji 27 [1894] December), followed by the address of the publisher Matsuki Heikichi V (1870-2931, of Daikokuya), ca. 1895

oban tate-e triptych 14 1/4 by 29 5/8 in., 36.2 by 75.3 cm

Although the title of this triptych identifies the subject as the invasion of the Penghu (Pescadore) Islands by the Japanese during the Sino-Japanese War (July 1894-April 1895) the publication date of December 1894 precedes that occupation by months. Although the design was originally issued without a title, however, Kiyochika used nearly the same composition in a circular cartouche on a sugoroku board game in December of 1894 which is identified as Fenghuangcheng, a riverside fortress which the Chinese evacuated and set fire to on October 29-30, 1894 as they retreated out of Korea across the Yalu River into Manchuria. The design was reissued with the new title when the Japanese began their invasion of Taiwan, starting with the Pescadores Islands in March of 1895.

References:
Louise E. Virgin, et. al., Japan at the Dawn of the Modern Age: Woodbock Prints from the Meiji Era, 1868-1912, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2001, p. 107, cat. no. 58
Rhiannon Paget, in Hu, et al., Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2016, p. 154. no. 57 and p. 172, no. 68 (suguroku game with Fenghuangcheng image)
New York Public Library, Donald Keene Collection
Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco
Smithsonian Sackler Gallery
Harvard Art Museum
(inv. no. C-1489)

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