Yokohama Boomtown Image Gallery / Y0124_Scrapbook
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Bankoku harimaze awase

Title: Comparison of Scrapbook Pages of Foreign Countries
Artist: Yoshiiku (1833-1904)
Format: Woodblock print
Medium: Ink and color on paper
Dimensions: 36.1 x24.5 cm (14 3/16 x9 5/8 in.)
Source: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

As if they were pictures collected in an album, the prints in the series by Yoshiiku to which this image belongs present assorted themes of foreigners. The title here alludes to the various Japanese games of matching or comparing (awase) pictures, painted shells, or incense. This example features a circular picture of bamboo, rendered as if it were a Chinese ink painting. Below is a square picture labeled "America," which shows a man playing a cello on an instrument missing one of its "f" holes. On the table is a lamp with pendant ornaments on the shade, a brush, and paper with writing on it. The long narrow format to the right is effectively employed for the picture of a child looking upward toward a balloon displaying two American flags. The balloon is a copy, probably several steps removed, from engravings illustrating the ascent from Philadelphia of the Constitution, the balloon launched in 1860 to celebrate the visit of the first Japanese embassy to the United States. Here the name of the balloon, which was correctly reproduced in the Futayo gatari, the diary of Katō Somō, a member of the embassy, has become almost unintelligible. Yoshiiku's series assimilates the foreigners into composite prints of a popular type; their placement in the context of a scrapbook renders the foreigners more familiar than exotic. [Adapted from Ann Yonemura, Yokohama: Prints from Nineteenth-Century Japan]

Visualizing Cultures image number: Y0124

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