Juvenile red tailed hawk with clean and pristine feathers

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Utagawa Yoshikozu

I picked up an interesting and somewhat rare print in an estate yesterday. It is the work of Utagawa Yoshikozu, titled "Foreigners in japan, Dutchmen with pipe and walking stick." 

There is not a lot of information extant about the Japanese artist, I have seen dates for his life that range from (1840-1860) to (1848-1863.) In any case, his lifespan was brief. He was born in Edo and a pupil of Kuniyoshi Utagawa. Little is actually known about him.

This print is part of a series called Bango Wakal (Barbarians in our midst?) and published by Yamashiroya Jinbei in 1863, which would favor the later death date. The lion's share of his work was created between 1858 and 1861.

This is a print of two dutch gentlemen in Yokohama. From the early 17th century to the mid 19th, it was forbidden for foreigners to live in Japan. The Dutch, who were vital trading partners, were the only exception but they were originally forced to live on an island off Nagasaki called Dejima. In 1858 the ban was lifted and many settled in Yokohama, where this print was created. The genre is now referred to as Yokohama-e.

Foreigners were a curiosity to the Japanese and there was apparently a great demand for these prints.

It is not particularly valuable but I find it an interesting piece from a historical perspective. Photographed through glass, not yet examined out of frame.

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