THE SUNDAY PICTURE

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The Independent Culture
THE SUNDAY PICTURE

This week's picture that can be seen for nothing on a Sunday is `The Japanese Fleet Bombarding Dalian' by Kobayashi Kiyochika, one of the prints showing for the first time in `Korea Through Japanese and Chinese Eyes: Glimpses of the Sino-Japanese War 1894-95'. The war in question may have lasted less than a year, but Japan's decisive victory forced the West to take her seriously for the first time. All the prints on display are by contemporary artists, and clearly demonstrate how differently events were presented to the Chinese and Japanese public. Artistic styles, too, were poles apart, as the curators Hamish Todd and Beth McKillop explain: "The Japanese war prints are striking for their graphic immediacy and variety . . . many also vividly convey the idealistic aspirations of Japan to ascendancy in East Asia at the time. In sharp contrast, the scenes by Chinese artists portray set-piece battles heedless of topographical or military accuracy. Furthermore, they are technically and artistically naive." (British Library Galleries, WC1, 071-412 7111, to 16 Jul, closed 14 Apr and 8 May; Sun 2.30-6, Mon-Sat 10-5.)

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