Sino-Japanese War 1894-95: Manchurian Campaign Part 3, December 1894 - March 1895
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Handsome illustration of a bivouac near Liaoyang. Japanese officers huddle around the red flames of a campfire, warming themselves in the snowy landscape. One man gestures towards the Chinese fortress seen in shadowy silhouette in the distance beyond the trees. Another officer sits on horseback at right, wearing a long coat lined with fur. Troops can be seen in the background at right.

A fine, atmospheric scene, with snow falling gently through the night sky and the fire illuminating the tree trunks. Nicely detailed and shaded.

“The striking similarity with the “man mad about drawing” by Hokusai, is evident in this woodcut. Remember the snow scene of hunters and foresters huddling around a camp-fire, their hands close to the burning logs (from the Hundred Poems told by the nurse) and the lovely poem: “friends are gone from me, the grass and leaves are withered. Ah, how the remembrance makes winter more lonely here in this mountain hamlet…” Franz Schubert, about the same time, wrote the unforgettable Winter Reise, reflecting the same poignant nostalgia in his eternal Lieders. In “Erstarrung”, for example: “Die Blumen sind erstorben, der Rasen sieht so blass. Soll den kein Angedenken ich nehmen mit von hier?”
Although inspired by Hokusai, this woodcut nevertheless remains totally Kunimasa. Once again, he has done well with his play on fire and snow. None better than the Japanese have expressed the hush of fallen snow and the silence of a country-side asleep for months to come.” Nathan Chaikïn from the 1983 publication “The Sino-Japanese War”.

Collections: Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Massachusetts.
                      The Basil Hall Chamberlain Collection.

References: Illustrated in the 1983 publication “The Sino-Japanese War by Nathan Chaikïn”, catalogue number 74. pp.184-185.
Illustrated in the Shinbaku Books 2014 publication “Massacres in Manchuria: Sino Japanese War
Prints 1894-1895”, edited by Jack Hunter, page 101.

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