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Congratulations on Maritime Security for All Eternity


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Congratulations on Maritime Security for All Eternity

by Kawanabe Kyōsai, 1863

Bell-ring Cricket, Mt. Fuji and a Parody of Kusazuri from the series Kyosai Manga

IHL Cat. #212

About This Print

This print depicts the return of Shogun Iemochi to Edo from Kyoto on the battleship Jundō-maru which is being protected by various deities.

Source: Demon of Painting: the Art of Kawanabe Kyōsai, Timothy Clark, British Museum Press, 1993, p. 114
In the spring of 1863, Shogun Iemochi (ruled 1858–66) was ordered to Kyoto to confer with the court on how and when the ‘foreign barbarians’ should be expelled from the country.  This was the first time in more than 100 years that the shogun had been summoned by the court in this way and was a high point of influence of the ‘revere the Emperor, expel the barbarians’ (sonnō jōi) faction.  Iemochi left Edo with a huge retinue on the thirteenth day of the second month, and arrived at Nijō Castle in Kyoto on the fourth day of the following month.

Kyōsai, like most inhabitants of Edo, would have wished the shogun success in his political mission, upon which rested the future economic prosperity of the city.  In the seventh month, 1863, he designed a triptych showing deities protecting the return of the Shogun to Edo in the battleship Jundō-maru1, an event that had occurred the previous month.

1 The Jundō-maru was a 360-horsepower ironclad paddle steamer, built in Britain, and purchased by the Bakufu for $150,000. [Source: Samurai Revolution: The Dawn of Modern Japan Seen Through the Eyes of the Shogun's Last Samurai, Romulus Hillsborough, Rutland and Tuttle Publishing, 2014, p. 218.]

Commemorating the Occasion
Source: "Kawanabe Kyosai and Toyohara Kunichika," by Shigeru Oikawa appearing in Time Present and Time Past: Images of a Forgotten Master: Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900), by Amy Reigle Newland, Hotei Publishing, 1999, p. 39. 
While this print depicts the return of the Shogun from Kyoto back to Edo after his meeting with Emperor Komei (1831-1867), it was the Shogun's trip to Kyoto that was most portrayed in woodblock prints.  At least thirteen artists, including Kyosai, were commissioned by approximately sixteen publishers to design prints commemorating the occasion.  Kyosai alone designed twenty-eight prints for the series.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Congratulations on Maritime Security for All Eternity!1
 海上安全万代寿 or 海上安全萬代寿 (Kaijō anzen bandai kotobuki)

Note: translated as Safety at Sea, Blessings for 10,000 Generations by The British Museum
 Artist  Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889)
Left sheet: 應需周麿 ōju Chikamaro [Artists would occasionally announce a requested design by placing ōju ("by special request") before their signatures.]
 Right sheet: 周麿 Chikamaro

 Seal of the Artist no seal
 Publication Date 1863 (Bunkyū 3), 7th month 
censor's seals left sheet, center sheet, right sheet

Censor's Seal 
aratame, i, shichi 亥七改 [Boar 7]
publisher's seal left sheet and right sheet
Daikokuya Kinnosuke 大黒屋金之助 [Marks: seal ref. 24-002; pub. ref. 033]
seal reading Tsukiji, Daikin ツキヂ 大金
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - full size separate sheets; unbacked; minor wrinkling throughout; some staing on center sheet and right portion of right sheet
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper
 14 x 9 3/8 in. (35.6 x 23.8 cm) each sheet
 H x W Image 
 Collections This Print  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 11.36777a-c; Waseda University Request Number:chi5 3975; The British Museum 1907,0531,0.642.1-3; The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University 201-1868, 1869, 1870; Smithsonian Institution Freer Sackler Gallery S2003.8.485; National Diet Library 寄別8-4-1-4; Tokyo Museum Collection 92200026-92200028; Mie Prefectural Museum JR0000243Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden RV-2493-11, 11a, 11b 
 Reference Literature
 Demon of Painting: the Art of Kawanabe Kyōsai, Timothy Clark, British Museum Press, 1993, p. 114, fig. 73.1

1English title supplied by Quintana Heathman, Research Assistant for Japanese Print Exhibitions Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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