Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Japan looking East

a few japanese drawings made during Commodore Perry's opening of Japan to trade in 1853-54.

woodblock drawing by hiroshige of Perry's ship in Japan maybe the USS Saratoga
Hiroshige woodblock drawing - That flag is wrong. Quite wrong. Too many stripes and interestingly, it was apparently looked upon as not a field of stars but as a print pattern. It is probably the USS Saratoga. It had 10 gun ports but it seems the artist may have decided to put the 10 gun ports in 2 rows.

probably one of Perry's ship in Japan
Perry's ship the USS Mississippi was a hybrid sail / steam ship. The smokestack in the drawing appears made of wood or brick probably because that was the expected material for a chimney. Note the eyes on the ships masthead and stern: a black iris and a white sclera surrounded by a ring of blue. After all, it was the ship of the blue eyed barbarians - what else would blue-eyed refer to?
The Japanese vision of the USS Mississippi is fierce.

japanese drawing of sumo and sailor
"I can pinch an inch, manboob-san!"

japanese drawing of Commodore Matthew Perry
Japanese drawing of Commodore Perry. Not sure if I see the resemblance. Note the eyelids. I am slightly disturbed by the facial hair.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you put a caption on the Commodore Perry picture.

I would never have picked it otherwise.

Col. Milquetoast said...

Ash, is it just me or does the drawing of Perry with the weird facial hair remind you of...um... something. Rotate it 90 degrees to the right and think dirty. If that doesn't work think of Maxine McKew.
It wasn't just the japanese that drew things based on how they thought they should be instead of how they are. I can't find it but some of the lithographs based upon photos taken by Perry's group were drawn showing some of the japanese with more western features.

Anonymous said...

It does, now you mention it.