Jun 03, 2021 - Sale 2571

Sale 2571 - Lot 39

Estimate: $ 1,800 - $ 2,200
(JAPANESE / RUSSIAN TRADE RELATIONS.) Imperial Russian Navy Admiral Yevfimiy Putyatin's diplomatic fleet at Osaka Bay. Color-woodblock kawaraban broadside. 13 1/2x18 1/2 inches, wide margins; folds, mild soiling, skillful old repairs. Japan, Kaei 7 (1854)

Additional Details

Rare color-printed kawaraban depicting Russian Admiral Yevfimiy Vasilyevich Putyatin's squadron entering Osaka Bay in late 1854.

In the wake of American Commodore Matthew Perry's successful opening of Japan in 1853, Putyatin sailed into Osaka attempting to gain an audience with Shogunate officials. After a brief stay, Putyatin found himself ushered from Osaka and was requested to continue to Shimoda where a meeting of diplomatic negotiations would be arranged. As the fleet sat anchored at Shimoda on December 23, 1854, a tremendous earthquake struck the area causing a tsunami which destroyed the fleet and damaged the flagship Diana's hull beyond repair. With a collaborative effort between the Russians and local Japanese carpenters a schooner was built in a matter of months that was large enough to carry Putyatin and his crew back to their homeland. This was the first western-style ship built in Japan and an early instance of Japanese learning western technology, models of which were quickly incorporated into their own naval fleets.

Before departing, Putyatin and Japanese officials negotiated the Treaty of Shimoda, ending Japan's centuries-long policy of international isolationism. The treaty opened Japan's ports to Russian commerce and defined the northern territorial borders between the two Empires.