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The Attack on Weihaiwei: The Taking of the Hundred Foot Cliff

Gossip: Sino-Japanese War (Break in the Fighting After Victory at Asan)
 

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

The Attack on Weihaiwei:

The Taking of the Hundred Foot Cliff

[Captain Higuchi saves a child]

by Watanabe Nobukazu, 1895

A Year-end Present from the Emperor and the Country

IHL Cat. #2163

About This Print


The brave Captain Higuchi was celebrated in prints, in song and in writing.  In this print he leads a cavalry charge while holding a Chinese infant during the Battle of Weihaiwei (January 20 - February 15, 1895), an offensive by Japanese naval and land forces which resulted in the destruction of the Chinese forts and much of the Chinese fleet located there. 

Source: Impressions of the Front: Woodcuts of the Sino-Japanese War, Shunpei Okamoto, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1983, p. 42.

Captain Higuchi holds an abandoned Chinese infant in the midst of battle. The captain’s rescue of the baby, which became a well-known story, was recorded by Kubota Beisen. 
Today a beautiful Chinese woman in her mid-twenties came to our troops for aid. Lieutenant Colonel Kawamura directed her to safety away from the battle. Arriving at the next village, we found an infant, which the young woman must have left. The sympathetic officer Captain Higuchi lulled its cries and ordered a Chinese prisoner to return the child to its mother. Handed to the prisoner, the baby cried, unwilling to leave Higuchi’s arms. The captain cradled the child in his left arm, while brandishing his sword in his right…. A French war correspondent was so impressed, he said, "In his right hand, he carried a sword to chastise the Chinese. In his left, he cradled a baby to show Japanese mercy. From this episode alone, it is clear that Japan’s war against China is righteous. Indeed, worthy of his majesty’s soldiers! When I report this touching incident to my country, many poets are sure to be inspired."


For detailed accounts of the Captain's heroics, see this collection's prints IHL Cat. #1343 Captain Higuchi by Mizuno Toshikata (1866-1908) and IHL Cat. #1811 Captain Higuchi, in the Midst of the Attack, Personally Holds a Lost Chinese Child by Ogata Gekkō.

Detail of the Print's Scroll


click on image to enlarge

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #2163
 Title or Description  The Attack on Weihaiwei: The Taking of the Hundred Foot Cliff
 威海衛攻撃百尺崖所占領之圖  Ikaiei kōgeki Hyakuseki gaisho senryō no zu
 Artist  Watanabe Nobukazu (1872-1944)
 Signature
ōju Yōsai Nobukazu ga 應需楊斎延一画
 Seal  unread seal (see above)
 Publication Date  1895
 Publisher
No publisher's seal is evident on the print. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston attributes the publication to Akiyama Buemon and the Philadelphia Museum of Art attributes the publication to "probably Fukuda Kumajirō."
 
The two square seals, shown left, are associated with a number of publishers during the 1890s, including the publishers Hasegawa Sumi 長谷川寿美 and Komori Sōjirō 小森宗次郎. They often appear near the publisher's name. Taken together, the seals read Kumiai seigen 組合正言.  Kumiai can be translated as "guild" and seigen can be translated as "censor" (using the Chinese meaning for the word.)  So, we may have some type of publisher's guild approval or censor seal.
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  good - light wrinkling, not backed, light toning
 Genre  ukiyo-esenso-e
 Miscellaneous    
 Format  vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper 
 14 3/8 x 9 3/8 in. (36.5 x 23.8 cm.) approximate for each sheet
 Literature 
 Impressions of the Front: Woodcuts of the Sino-Japanese War, Shunpei Okamoto, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1983, p. 42, fig. 69
 Collections This Print
 Philadelphia Museum of Art 1976-75-177a--c; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 2000.360a-c
last revision:
4/11/2020 created
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