Illustration of Scouts from the First Army Reconnoitering at Motianling
(Dai-ichi-gun no sekko Matenrei tanken no zu)
the title along the top margin of the center sheet, Dai-ichi-gun no sekko Matanrei tanken no zu, dated and signed Meiji kinoe ushi moto (1894, early winter), Beisaku sei, with artist's block carver's seal Hori Yata (Watanabe Yataro, 1850-1913), dated again on the left margin, Meiji nijunananen, junigatsu (Meiji 27 , December) with publisher's information of Inoue Kichijiro, 1894
oban tate-e triptych 14 3/4 by 29 1/2 in., 37.5 by 74.9 cm
Two Japanese scouts pause in a forest as they search for Chinese troops, With a muted palette of pale orange leaves on the trees, soft brown and green ground, and the background blurred with mist, the setting seems eerily quiet. One soldier stands near a waters edge, leaning ever-so-slightly forward as though he is listening intently. His fellow-scout waits at a distance, holding the horses back. In Conflicts of Interest, Philip Hu describes this composition as one of the most beautiful Sino-Japanese war prints and arguably one of the artist's most successful works.
Louise E. Virgin, Japan at the Dawn of the Modern Age: Woodblock Prints from the Meiji Era, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2001, p. 92, no. 44, accession no. 2000.53a-c
Philip K. Hu, ed., Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2016, p. 138, no. 45, accession no. 125:2010a-c
(inv. no. C-3013)
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site last updated
April 16, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
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