Historically Important Photo of Sawa Nobuyoshi and Attendants Taken in Nagasaki and attributed to Ueno Hikoma
[Japan] Very important and scarce photo showing high court noble, or kugyo, Sawa Nobuyoshi with 12 of his attendants outdoors. Sawa (1839-73) was one of the seven court nobles who were exiled from Kyoto in 1863. With the Meiji Restoration, he was appointed the first Foreign Minister of Japan in 1868 and was scheduled to go to Russia as ambassador in 1873 but died at 38 years old before his appointment was to begin. The man standing next to the horse is believed to be Okuma Shigenobu. Early, large format Japanese photos such as this that were taken outside are very difficult to find. Interestingly, and misleadlingly, the Japanese characters written twice (in two different hands) on the rear state, 'Foreign Minister Sawa Nobuyoshi who died in London, England.' Another person has written in pencil, 'Sawa nobuyosi ....chon u..' [sic]. As far as is known, he never went to England.
[Nagasaki]. Attributed to Ueno Hikoma. .
Photo itself 24.7 x 15.4cm.
Photo in good condition. Slight loss of contrast. One old worm trail under Sawa that is about 2cm long. Mounted on card that is chipped, marked and a bit damaged at edges. Mount with short worm trail just under lower left corner of photo. p33091047