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Unsigned / Unknown Artist (1600 - Present)

Dutch Ship Entering Nagasaki Bay

Medium: Woodblock Print
Date: 19th century
Size (H x W): 5.5 x 13.25 (inches)
Condition: Very good color, impression and state.

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While Yokohama-e captured the influx of unfamiliar peoples, places, and things that entered entered Japan in the mid-19th century, Nagasaki-e captured images of the foreign from the 18th century. Under the Tokugawa Shogunate's “closed country” policy (1641-1853), Nagasaki was the only port sanctioned for strictly-regulated foreign trade. Nagasaki-e (Nagasaki pictures) answered a public curiosity about these foreign visitors, often through images of foreign ships and typographic portraits. These prints functioned as popular souvenirs from Nagasaki.

About the artist

There are some works that arrive in our collection by unknown artists, while there are others that may lack a signature, but can be attributed to a known artist after careful research. Certain genres, such as Meiji-period photography and shunga (erotic prints) frequently fall into this second category. It is difficult to identify early photographers because photography studios did not include credits in souvenir albums, many of which featured numerous photographers. In addition, photographers often bought the negatives of others and reproduced them as a part of their own portfolio. When attempting to make attributions, photographs with no credits are compared to the few that have attributions. Turning to shunga, nearly all ukiyo-e artists produced erotic prints, yet these prints are often unsigned to avoid trouble with the law. For these works, attributions are generally made based on stylistic analysis.