Sino-Japanese War 1894-95: Yalu River. Campaign Sept. - Oct. 1894
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The Manchurian campaign began after Japanese forces crossed the Yalu River on October 24, 1894, when the Chinese retreated after their defeat at Pyöngyang. Only the scout’s uniform and the title inform the viewer that this is a representation of war. The solitary figure gazing at the distant campfires on a still night evokes the traditional representation of the poet in a landscape. Subdued colours, the cloud floating across the moon, and shadows that highlight horse and rider as well as the landscape create a lyrical image.

Open format, involving a broad and continuous landscape with clearly detailed figures. Here, a lone Japanese scout and his horse have paused to look down from the heights over the moonlit expanse of the Yalu River. Following their defeat at Pyöngyang, the Chinese had retreated to the Yalu River, the border between Korea and Manchuria. The Japanese were to cross the river on 24 October, in preparation for which scouts like this were  sent out to reconnoitre. Here, the lights of the enemy campfires can be seen across on the Manchurian side, reflecting off the water. The scout is stiff, impassive; his horse seems more human than he does.
Collections: Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts.
The Worcester Art Museum.
The Leserman-Adler Collection.

References:   Illustrated in the 1991 Worcester Art Museum Catalogue “In Battles Light”, Catalogue number 11. p.38.
Illustrated in the 2008 paper Throwing Off Asia II: woodblock prints of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) by John W. Dower – Chapter Two, “Kiyochika’s War”.pp.2-1 and 2-4.
Illustrated in the 1988 Santa Barbara Museum of Art publication “KIYOCHIKA Artist of Meiji Japan” by Henry D. Smith II, Catalogue number 97. p.88.

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