[Perry Expedition - Black Ship Scroll]
[Perry Expedition - Black Ship Scroll]
[Perry Expedition - Black Ship Scroll]
[Perry Expedition - Black Ship Scroll]
[Perry Expedition - Black Ship Scroll]
2206

Property of Various Owners

[Perry Expedition - Black Ship Scroll]

Estimate: 25,000 - 35,000 USD

Property of Various Owners

[Perry Expedition - Black Ship Scroll]

Estimate: 25,000 - 35,000 USD

Lot Sold:32,500USD

Lot Details

Description

Property of Various Owners


[PERRY EXPEDITION - BLACK SHIP SCROLL]


ANON. [TREATY OF KANAGAWA AND VISIT TO SHIMODA] CA. 1854


Ink and watercolor by an unknown Japanese artisan on approximately 44 joined linen-mounted rice paper panels in a scroll, 280 mm x 15.86 meters. On a wooden roller with silk tie, in wooden box.


A lengthy account of Perry's second visit to Japan, depicting the first contacts between Americans and Japanese citizens in the ports newly opened to American ships


While Commodore Matthew Clabraith Perry's U.S. naval squadron's arrival in Japan's Edo Bay in July 1853, was a momentous event, it was his second voyage the next year that truly opened a Japan that had been sealed off from the world for over two centuries.


Perry's return in 1854, with a much more substantial force, provoked the same curiosity and trepidation among the Japanese populace as his first visit, if not more so. The Americans arrived by steam frigates (the "black ships of evil men") as well as under sail, with their canons and howitzers conspicuous. This second visit to Edo Bay was a purposeful display of the United States' superior military force to impress an essentially feudal society — all the better for Perry to encourage the signing of a treaty allowing American whalers to use the islands as a resupply outpost of America's burgeoning economic empire and Pacific expansion. 


Following the signing of the Treaty of Kanagawa on March 31, 1854, Perry visited the two ports named as open to American ships, Shimoda and Hakodate. Americans were also allowed to travel inland from these ports to a proscribed distance of seven ri (approximately 17 miles). Officers were allowed onshore and the manners, appearance, and customs of the Americans were of nearly insatiable interest to the inhabitants of these remote fishing villages. This was the first interaction common Japanese had with Westerners and the scenes depicted in the present scroll strive to present a broad overview of the Americans' very foreign behavior and their alien technology.


Japanese artists made numerous sketches and studies of Perry's visit, both as individual watercolors and scrolls to be sold in the markets and shops around Shimoda (which apparently the U.S. personnel were discouraged from purchasing for themselves). The present is unusual in both its physical length and the its depictions beyond the narrative of the Treaty and ships to include the sailors' habits onshore. Among the scenes in the present scroll are details of naval uniforms, sailors fishing, buying saki, dancing, courting geishas, as well as the expected attention to the steamers, masted frigates and identification of where the squadron's ships are anchored and the grounds where the treaty ceremony took place.


Scrolls such as the present are essentially how news was disseminated by those who had first hand encounters with the foreigners to those that had not. The present scroll has similar illustrations to the folk art scrolls held at the Honolulu Academy of Arts and at the Japan Society of San Francisco (see partial census below). It is possible that each of these three derive from the same artwork source. 


LITERATURE:

Partial Census of surviving scrolls (and fragments thereof):

1. Providence, RI, Brown University Library, Anne S. K. Brown Collection. “Request for a good relationship,” 12 images. Prov: Wang Zhiben (1835?–1907).

2. Honolulu Academy of Art. “The Black Ship Scroll.”

3. San Francisco, Japan Society. Incomplete and dismembered.

4. Newport, RI. Naval War College. 13 framed segments.

5. London, British Library. Recent purchase.

6.-20. Ryosenji Treasure Museum, 14 scrolls.

21. Nagasaki Prefecture, framed segments.

22. Salem, MA, Peabody Essex Museum, framed segments.

23. Tokyo, University of Tokyo, Shiryo Hensanjo. 1 scroll showing American military formations.

24. Tokyo, Waseda University Library. 2 scrolls, ca. 30 plates.

25. Tokyo, Edo-Tokyo Museum. 1 scroll by the same editor (Otsuki Bankei), heavily wormed.

26. Providence, RI, Brown University, John Hay Library, 1 scroll.

27. Newport, RI, Naval War College, scroll fragments

28. New Haven, CT, Beinecke Library, 1 scroll, 31 x 1017 cm, "Meriken nyushin no zu."

29. Private collection. 22 sheet scroll, 298 x 9710 mm. Sold Sotheby's New York, 11 June 2013, lot 93, $112,500.


PROVENANCE:

Perry family. The present lot is accompanied by a bible with an 1856 gift inscription "Calbraith Perry Rodgers from his affectionate Aunt Ann" the recipient was the Commodore's grand nephew. 

Condition Report

Ink and watercolor by an unknown Japanese artisan on approximately 44 joined linen-mounted rice paper panels in a scroll, 280 mm x 15.86 meters. On a wooden roller with silk tie, in wooden box.


In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.


Fine Manuscript and Printed Americana
Online bidding closed