Sino-Japanese War 1894-95: The Yellow Sea
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A decisive battle for the control of the seas had yet to be fought. On 17 September, the day after Pingyang fell, there was a full-scale battle between the Japanese Combined Fleet and the Chinese Peiyang, or Northern Fleet in the Yellow Sea. This is said to have been the first naval battle in history between steam-powered fleets. The Japanese fleet consisted of twelve warships, led by the flagship Matsushima. The Chinese fleet had fourteen, with the ironclad flagship Tingyuen. However, in total fire power, the Chinese fleet was inferior. Caught escorting troop transport close to shore, the Chinese were not able to manoeuvre  in open sea. But the Chinese crews fought gallantly. After five hours of battle, the Chinese Peiyang, Fleet had lost thirty percent of its fighting power and the remainder retreated to Port Arthur, then proceeded to Weihaiwei. Although equipped with modern, ironclad steamships, the Chinese fleet had not been prepared for a modern war and lacked trained men and ammunition, as a result of internal political corruption. The battle cost the Chinese the control of the Yellow Sea, and their fleet never again dominated the Japanese fleet.
From the 1983 Philadelphia Museum of Art publication “Impressions of the Front”, by Sumpei Okamoto, p.13.

Fantastic depiction of the naval Battle of Haiyang Island during the Sino-Japanese War. An explosion rocks a Chinese ship at right, severing the mast and sending enemy sailors tumbling into the frothing water below. Other Chinese fall over the bow of the ship as another shot explodes, clouds of smoke billowing all around the ship as it begins to sink. At left, smaller boats carry Japanese soldiers towards the flourishing vessel, with warships at left. An incredible, dramatic design, detailed with fine bokashi shading and a dusting of mica across the sea. From Fuji Arts Japanese Print auction web-site.

Collections :  British Library.
Philadelphia Museum of Art.

References :      Illustrated in the 1983 Philadelphia Museum of Art publication “Impressions of the Front”, Catalogue number 23. p.25.



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