Illustration of the Eighth Attack on Port Arthur: The Flagship of Russia Was Destroyed by the Torpedo of Our Navy and Admiral Makarov Drowned
(Daihachi Ryojun kogeki no zu, koko ni waga fusetsu suirai Rosen Makarofu chusho dekishi su)
the Japanese title in traditional overlapping square cartouches at upper right, titled again in imperfect English along the bottom edge: The picture of the eighth attack of port Arthup. The Flag-Ship of Russia was destroyed by tbe torpedo of our navy and Admiral Makkaloff drowbed [sic], signed Hanpo with artist's seal Hanpo no in, dated within the publisher's cartouche for Sawa Hisajiro, Meiji sanjunananen (Meiji 37 )
oban tate-e vertical triptych 27 3/4 by 14 in., 70.4 by 35.7 cm
In this composition the artist makes the most of turning the traditional horizontal oban triptych on its head, stacking the sheets upright which emphasizes the verticality of the scene. The dramatic format captures an event which took place on April 1, 1904 when the Japanese navy lured the Russian commander of the Pacific Fleet, Vice Admiral Stepan Osipovich Makarov (1848-1904) into a minefield which had been laid the previous evening. The Russian flagship, the Petropavlovsk was destroyed, sinking so quickly all were lost, some 679 souls, including Makarov.
Hanpo devotes two-thirds of the composition to a view beneath the surface, drawing our attention to the two mines anchored to the seabed. One mine has already detonated, leaving a large hole in the hull below the waterline as a geyser shoots up into the air and the battleship lists perilously. The impact and steep angle throws the sailors off her deck, sending them tumbling helplessly into the water.
Andreas Marks includes this design (one of only three senso-e from the Sino-Japanese and Russo Japanese wars) in his 2019 publication on ukiyo-e masterpieces, Japanese Woodblock Prints, noting that there are only seven woodblock prints recorded by Hanpo, an artist about whom virtually no biographical details are known.
Rhiannon Paget, in Hu, et al., Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2016, p. 230, no. 10 (and re: sinking of the Petropavlovsk), accession no. 559:2010a-c
Andreas Marks, Japanese Woodblock Prints, 2019, pp. 548-549 (two page detail), pp. 550-551, no. 180
British Museum, registration no. 1983,0617,0.1.a-c
Harvard Art Museum, object no. 1978.180
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2007a-c
(inv. no. C-3031)
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