Yokohama Boomtown Image Gallery / Y0142_MayFest_Party
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Gaikoku jinbutsu:Dontoku no zu

Title: Picture of People of the Five Nations: A Sunday
Artist: Yoshitora (fl. ca. 1850-80)
Format: Woodblock print
Medium: Ink and color on paper
Dimensions: triptych: 34.9 x72.9 cm (13 3/4 x28 11/16 in.)
Source: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Although this print includes a view of Yokohama's harbor through the open window to the left, it is closely based on an illustration of a performance in honor of Japan's first embassy to the United States in 1860. The illustration of a young girl dancing at the May Festival Ball of the Children at Willard's Hotel (now the Willard Inter-Continental) in Washington, D.C., was published in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. Yoshikazu's triptych is probably based directly upon the illustration in that paper. Although the artist might not have been fully aware of the location of the scene he was copying, he quite closely reproduced the features of the room - such as the chandelier of gaslights above - as depicted in the documentary sketch. Moreover, Yoshikazu added such interior furnishings as the wall clock, which had been represented in earlier Japanese illustrations of the Dutch at Deshima. The shading of the costumes and the somewhat stiff and unnatural poses of the figures reflect the artist's dependence upon secondary sources. The young girl dancing with castanets appears in almost precisely the same stance in several other prints by Yoshikazu. [Adapted from Ann Yonemura, Yokohama: Prints from Nineteenth-Century Japan]

Visualizing Cultures image number: Y0142

Keywords: westerners, entertainment, ships, flags, interior, women, children

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