2 Large Japanese watercolour painting of Nagasaki harbour, 106


Description: Large Japanese watercolour painting of Nagasaki harbour, with many ships and boats.

OCHIAI Yoshiiku (UTAGAWA Yoshiiku).
Kiyoko zuga [= Representation of Nagasaki harbour].
[Nagasaki, ca. 1880?]. A large watercolour painting of Nagasaki harbour (image size: 49.5 x 87.5 cm), probably on mulberry bark paper, with one large Asian ship, more than a dozen small Asian boats, and a steam boat in the background, all rendered following Western conventions of perspective. In a passe-partout in a modern wooden frame painted gold (95 x 125 cm), behind glass.
€ 8,500
A large watercolour painting from the Meiji period showing Nagasaki harbour viewed from the city, looking across at the Papenburg (Dutch for Pope's mountain), named for the many Catholic martyrs who were thrown off the peak. A large Asian ship in the harbour (15.5 cm tall in the painting) forms a focal point in the painting, while the masts of another appear in the foreground at left. Several more Asian sailing ships appear far in the background and there are many small rowboats in the foreground and background. Of special interest is a steamboat sailing into the harbour in the background left, with two smokestacks.
Ochiai Yoshiiku (1833-1904) belonged to the group of woodcut artists known as the Utagawa school, and is therefore also known as Utagawa Yoshiiku. He studied with Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861), who had studied with Tokokuni I (1769-1825), who took charge of the group when its founder, his teacher Utagawa Toyoharu (1735-1814), died. The Utagawa school is known for mixing Western traditions, especially Western perspective, into traditional Japanese styles. While most of Ochiai's work remained faithful to the traditional manner, the present painting shows a nearly pure Western perspective. This combined with the fact that his name also appears transliterated in the Latin alphabet may mean this painting was made for a European patron.
With a few wrinkles in the paper slightly affecting the mountain at the right, the sky near it and the sail of the large ship, but otherwise in fine condition. A lovely and unusually large Japanese watercolour painting, showing Nagasaki harbour with many ships and boats.
  • Number: 1011906
  • Dealer: Speculum Orbis Nauticum

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