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Spoiled Chinese Battleship Chinen from the series Comical Art Exhibit of the Sino-Japanese War


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Spoiled Chinese Battleship Chinen

from the series

Comical Art Exhibit of the Sino-Japanese War

by Kobayashi Kiyochika, 1895

To と from the series Kyōiku Iroha tango

IHL Cat. #534

About This Print

This print is one of at least thirty-four prints issued as part of the series Comical Art Exhibit of the Sino-Japanese War (Nissei sensô shôraku gakai) by Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915).

This print shows the captured Chinese battleship Chinen 鎮遠 in its new home port at the Yokosuka navy yard in Kanagawa Prefecture with an armada of small boats taking spectators to tour the ship.  The symbolical meaning of the two onlookers in the foreground is unknown.

For more information on the capture of the Chinen see the print Viewing the Captured Chinese Warship Chinen at Yokosuka Naval Port.

The Series Comical Art Exhibit of the Sino-Japanese War

As with his more famous comic series One Hundred Victories, One Hundred Laughs (Hyakusen hyakushô), this series parodied events of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 and disparaged the Chinese.

The prints for this series were originally printed on a full size vertical oban sheet containing two chuban size images.  The series title in kanji 日清戦争笑楽画会 appears on some prints in this series, but not all, and may have been hand stamped on the sheet.  Other prints in this series can be found at the University of Vienna website http://kenkyuu.jpn.univie.ac.at/karikaturen/showserresults.asp?Page=1&MaxDocs=&NumberOfHits=16&lang=e and in the collection of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 

This installation features more than 30 loans from two remarkably rich local resources, the Lavenberg Collection of Japanese Prints, and the Lee & Mary Jean Michels Collection. It was co-curated by Professors Akiko Walley (History of Art and Architecture) and Glynne Walley (East Asian Languages and Literatures) and JSMA Chief Curator Anne Rose Kitagawa. QR codes on selected labels allow visitors to access translations and explanations of the complex wordplay, imagery, and cultural context of these fascinating objects.


KOBAYASHI Kiyochika (小林清親, 1847-1915)

Japanese; Meiji period, 1897

Viewing the Zhenyuan (Chin’en-gō goran), from the series Comical Art Exhibit of the Sino-Japanese War (Nisshinsensō shōraku gakai)

Ukiyo-e woodblock print in horizontal chūban format; ink and color on paper

The Lavenberg Collection of Japanese Prints,IHL.0534

Thisprint satirizes the gawkers gathered to see the Chinese Battleship Zhenyuancaptured by the Japanese Combined Fleet during the First Sino-Japanese WarBattle of Port Weihaiwei on February 17, 1895, and then towed back to Japan.Zhenyuan and her sister ship Dingyuan were built in Germany in 1882 to be themost powerful battleships in East Asia. In the foreground are a kimono-clad cat (neko) and rice paddle (shakushi) who regard the monumental ship with amazement. This print humorously represents the proverb, "neko mo shakushi mo," literally, "even the cat and the rice paddle" roughly equivalent to "every Tom, Dick and Harry."

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Spoiled Chinese Battleship Chinen (鎮遠)
 Series Comical Art Exhibit of the Sino-Japanese War (Nissei sensō shōraku gakai 日清戦争笑楽画会).  Also translated as "Laughs over the Sino-Japanese War."
 Artist Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915)
Kiyochika 清親
 Seal Kiyochika 清親 (as shown above)
 Publication Date 1895 (Meiji 28)
Fukuda Hatsujirō 福田初次郎 [Marks: pub. ref. 070; seal not shown]
 (click on image to enlarge)
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - minor wrinkling; small wormhole right edge repaired from back
 Genre ukiyo-e; senso-e (Sino-Japanese War); giga
 Format horizontal chûban
 H x W Paper 
 7 x 9 1/2 in. (17.8 x 24.1 cm) 
 Collections This Print
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