Kobayashi Kiyochika


Using an Electric Searchlight in the Attack on Pyeongyang (silver smoke)
(Heijo kogeki denki shiyo no zu)

the title along the top margin of the center sheet, Heijo kogeki denki shiyo no zu, signed Kiyochika with artist's seal, dated on the left margin, Meiji nijunananen - gatsu - ka (Meiji 27 [1894] - month - day), with publisher's information for Inoue Kichijiro, 1894

oban tate-e 14 3/4 by 29 1/2 in., 37.5 by 75 cm

After war was declared on August 1, 1894, the first major attack began at daybreak on September 15th when the Japanese army attacked the walled city of Pyeongyang, which was the last Chinese position in Korea. By the evening, the Chinese forces collapsed and the supreme commander had fled, allowing the Japanese to take control of the city the next day.

Kiyochika depicts Japanese artillery utilizing a searchlight fueled by a generator to pierce the inky night sky and guide their aim across the Taedong River. The Hyonmu Gate is illuminated by the beam of light while bursting shells cast an eerie orange glow over the city walls.

Henry D. Smith II, Kiyo-Chika: Artist of Meiji Japan, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1988, p. 82, no 91 (faint highlights on the smoke)
Exhibition of Kobayashi Kiyochika, Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, 1998, p. 8, no. 109
Kobayashi Kiyochika: A Retrospective, Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, 2016, pp. 140-141, no. 226 (bronze and silver smoke)
Bradley M. Bailey, Flash of Light, Fog of War: Japanese Military Prints, 1894-1905, Ackland Art Museum, 2017, p. 88, no. 36, accession no. 2015.11.18 (bronze and silver smoke)
Edo Tokyo Museum, accession no. 90364206 (bronze and silver smoke)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, accession no. JP3420 (silver smoke)
New York Public Library, no. 101982a-c (faint highlights on smoke)
Saint Louis Art Museum, object no. 209:2010a-c (silver smoke)
(inv. no. C-3051)

price: $1,500


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site last updated
October 21, 2021

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475