Taguchi Beisaku – Braving Heavy Snow: A Japanese Army Officer Scouts Enemy Territory

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Additional information

Artist

Beisaku, Taguchi

Condition

(B) Fine Condition

Date

1880s-1900s

Edition

First Edition, Lifetime

Movement

Ukiyo-e

Publisher

Mizuno Asajiro

Size

Oban (10"x15"), Triptych

Subjects

Snow, Story, War

The full title is “Picture of Our Officer Single-Handedly Scouting Out Enemy Territory Braving the Heavy Snow”, printed by Mizuno Asajiro in January 1895. A remarkable and striking scene from the First Sino-Japanese War (Jul 25, 1894 – Apr 17, 1895) which was a conflict between China and Japan primarily over influence in Korea. This print has an incredibly unique style in its treatment of the angled snow, perspective/depth, treatment of light and shadows, and so much else.

The Woodblock Prints

This oban triptych is in fine condition compared to other examples of the prints. The individual prints have largely been trimmed of their margins, and where the top margin of the center print held the title of the print, that title information has been affixed onto the top of the center print. The prints themselves have lovely color and detail with minor expected age-wear, the backing on the prints has fallen away in most places but left the integrity of the individual prints intact.

About the Artist

Taguchi Beisaku (1864 – 1903) was born in 1864 in Tochigi prefecture as the son of a rice merchant. In 1873 he went to Tokyo to study the art of painting, later meeting the painter and printmaker Kiyochika Kobayashi and learning woodblock printmaking. Under the influence of Kiyochika Kobayashi, Taguchi Beisaku learned the aspects of coloring, especially the shading of colors reflecting the influence of light and shadows.

Taguchi Beisaku died rather young at the age of 40. He is primarily known for the woodblock prints with scenes from the Sino-Japanese war of 1894/95, mostly made as triptychs. The Japanese who unanimously supported the war with a wave of nationalism bought these triptychs as illustrated latest news from the front and a display of their support for the war.