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Yoshikata (act. c. 1841 - 1864)

Sketch of Large Elephants

Medium: Woodblock Print
Date: 1863
Size (H x W): 15.125 x 30.75 (inches)
Publisher: Sanoya Tomigoro (Kinseido)
Seals: Combined aratame and date seal
Signature: Yoshikata ga & Isshinsai Yoshikata hitsu
Condition: Fine color, impression and state, visible woodgrain.



Yokohama prints (yokohama-e) of the 1860s both considered the foreign people and things arriving in the newly opened port city and imagined the distant lands from which these visitors came. This interest extended to Japan’s animal visitors as well. Foreign entrepreneurs imported animals for entertainment purposes, including camels, tigers, and, as referenced here, an elephant. Ukiyo-e artists were quick to not only capture these rare beasts through designs that offered a “true likeness,” but also imagine the animals’ life before Japan.

Other impressions of this print can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

About the artist

Yoshikata Utagawa was an ukiyo-e artist active during the mid-19th century. A student of Kuniyoshi, Yoshikata is best known for his warrior prints (musha-e). He used the artist name (go) Ipposai.