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Illustration of the Celebration of the Silver Wedding Anniversary


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Illustration of the Celebration of the

Silver Wedding Anniversary

by Yōshū Chikanobu, 1894

IHL Cat. #383

About This Print

A depiction of one of many ceremonies (as described below) that took place on the day of the silver wedding anniversary of the emperor and empress on March 9, 1894.  In this print felicitations are being read by a military official but, interestingly, Emperor Meiji and Empress Haruko are off-stage, concealed by the orange curtain.

The Silver Wedding Anniversary of Emperor Meiji and Empress Haruko

Source: Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852-1912, Donald Keene, Columbia University Press, 2002, p. 471.
The wedding anniversaries of Japanese sovereigns had never before been a matter for public rejoicing, but when the emperor was informed that it was customary for royalty in foreign countries to celebrate “silver weddings,” he gladly gave his consent to the proposed celebrations.  To make sure the proper tone for the celebration was maintained, a committee was formed to investigate foreign examples. 

The Ceremonies
Splendid Monarchy: Power and Pageantry in Modern Japan, T. Fujitani, University of California Press, 1998, p. 113-114.
The core ceremonies...began within the sacred and invisible confines of the Palace Sanctuary, continued into the public rooms of the palace where Japanese and foreign dignitaries observed them, and culminated with an imperial military review at the Aoyama Military Parade Field. 

Before noon, the emperor, dressed in his formal military uniform (seiso), and the empress, dressed in a white Western gown, received the felicitations of Japanese and foreign dignitaries.  These included over two hundred Japanese princes, peers, and high officials, both civil and military.

Also see the article Prints of the Emperor Meiji and Empress Haruko.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Illustration of the Celebration of the Silver Wedding Anniversary
(銀婚式御擧之圖 Ginkon goshiki hōshuku no zu)
 Artist Yōshū Chikanobu (1838-1912)
 Signature 楊洲周延 Yōshū Chikanobu hitsu
 Seal not sealed
 Publication Date 1894 March (Meiji 27)
 Publisher Hasegawa Sonokichi (publisher's name in left margin is trimmed from this print)
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good – 3 separate unbacked sheets; ink offsetting on right and center panels
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper 
 14 1/4 x 9 5/8 in. (36.2 x 24.4 cm) each sheet
 Collections This Print