Yokohama Boomtown Image Gallery / Y0113_Dutch_telescope
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Gokakoku jinbutsu zue: Oranda

Title: Picture of People of the Five Nations: Holland
Artist: Sadahide (1807-ca. 1878)
Format: Woodblock print
Medium: Ink and color on paper
Dimensions: 37.3 x25.3 cm (14 11/16 x9 31/32 in.)
Source: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

The text reads: Holland is called Horurando. This country is a neighbor of France and England. Long ago it was established as an independent nation but recently it has become a nation of the Western alliance. The people are exceptionally wise, and they excel in craftsmanship. Continuously on the trade routes, frigates, [stern boats?], and "susquehanna" boats [a reference to Susquehanna,one of Perry's ships, mistaken here as being a specific vessel type] cross thousands of miles over the seas. For this reason they understand the circumstances and languages of various countries. Knowledge about a myriad aspects of heaven and earth are said to have come from this country to other Western nations. Reported by Kanagaki Robun. Sadahide, an avid annalist of Western customs, depicts a Dutch man holding a telescope, one of the Western inventions that would have been familiar to many Japanese. Telescopes were already in use in Japan by the end of the eighteenth-century, when they were featured in teahouses for the entertainment of patrons who could use them to explore scenic views. Sadahide seems to delight in depicting the figure of the Dutch from a dramatically close standpoint, and the man in profile. The artist employs foreshortening, a Western artistic convention of which he was especially fond, to illustrate the large dog in the background. The author of the inscription, Kanagaki Robun (1829-1894), was a satirical writer and journalist whose original name was Nozaki Bunzō. [Adapted from Ann Yonemura, Yokohama: Prints from Nineteenth-Century Japan]

Visualizing Cultures image number: Y0113

Keywords: Westerners, Netherlands, Dutch, animals, telescope, Kanagaki Robun, "Five Nations"

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